Malaysian hotel market recovery to continue in 2023: Knight Frank

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s hotel market recovery is expected to continue next year, driven by strong demand outlook, according to independent real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank.

On the supply side, the firm said that Kuala Lumpur’s (KL) existing hotel stock of 47,500 is forecast to grow by 9% over the next three years and about 60% of this new supply will be in the luxury and upper upscale segments which are currently underrepresented.

“These new luxury offerings will make KL a more attractive holiday destination, boosting occupancy and growth in hotel revenues. We are forecasting that Kuala Lumpur hotel occupancy will reach about 75% by late 2023, with revenue per available room (RevPar) recovering in 2024,” it said in a statement today.

The firm said that KL hotel occupancy has risen since the start of this year, reaching 60% in August. The city has been pushing up the average daily rate (ADR) which was only 6% down from August 2019, although less successful at improving its RevPar which was down 28%.

“Since the beginning of 2022, international passenger traffic volume to KLIA has been rebounding with average month-on-month growth of 27%, boosted by the complete removal of border restrictions, improving flight connectivity, and easing of regional travel restrictions.

“In September 2022, KLIA received 1.64 million international travellers, or about 53% of September 2019 of 3.51 million. When China does eventually lift its travel restrictions, this will provide an added boost.”

Knight Frank added that halal tourism provides huge potential for the Malaysian hotel market with international Muslim travellers registering 7.5% compound annual growth rate between 2013 and 2019. Malaysia is the top-ranked destination in the Mastercard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index 2022. The firm opined that KL, Penang and Langkawi are particularly well-positioned to capture the halal tourism market.

On Tuesday, four restaurants in KL and Penang were awarded with the country’s first ever Michelin stars during the unveiling of the inaugural Michelin Guide KL and Penang 2023 at a ceremony at Berjaya Times Square Hotel, KL. Concurrently, 32 (Penang, 17 and KL, 15) received the Bib Gourmand rating, which recognises “friendly establishments that serve good food at moderate prices”.

In 2019, Malaysia received 26.1 million international visitors and RM86 billion in receipts. That year, the country’s three biggest markets were Singapore (10.2 million), Indonesia (3.6 million) and China (3.1 million).