JOHOR BAHRU – The start of the school holidays in both Malaysia and Singapore has seen massive crowds in Johor Bahru, with several areas in the southern Malaysian city experiencing traffic congestion over the weekend.
At the Causeway on Saturday morning, scores of cars were seen entering from Singapore.
The downtown area was abuzz with people making a beeline for popular food outlets.
The marketing and communications manager of a Johor Bahru hotel, Ms Keyin Tay, said it was almost fully booked for the weekend.
“We have been seeing bookings increasing week by week, especially on weekends, with most of them coming from Singapore,” she told The Star.
“We expect the number to continue to go up until the end of the school holidays.”
Malaysian schools are on their week-long term two break, which ends on Sept 10 or 11, depending on the states.
This coincides with the September term break for schools in Singapore as well, from Sept 3 to Sept 11 this year.
One of the owners of another hotel, Ms Alice Chan, said at least 80 per cent of its rooms are occupied.
She added that the hotel has been having busy weekends almost every week since the reopening of the borders in April.
“This has really helped us to recover after suffering major losses in the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she added.
Ms Chan said that for this weekend, the crowds are larger than usual because of the school holidays on both sides of the Causeway.
“Apart from Singaporean visitors, however, we are also getting travellers from other states such as Sabah and Sarawak,” she said.
Mr Lim Toh Huei, owner of the town bakery famed for its banana cakes, said it has been hectic every weekend since the reopening of the borders.
“We are really busy every weekend and business has returned to pre-pandemic times,” he said.
“Most weekends, customers have to wait for about an hour to get our banana cakes.”
Mr Lim said other businesses around town are experiencing a similar resurgence with the return of Singaporean consumers. – THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK