LONGHAUL travel will be the hardest hit by the depreciation of the Malaysian ringgit and the impact could be seen as early as Lunar New Year 2015, say travel consultants here.
The Malaysian currency has slid 6.8 per cent since October 10.
“Travellers with family and business obligations to travel to Europe and North America will still travel. But others will postpone their holidays there and wait for the ringgit to strengthen,” said John Chan, general manager, NCR Travel & Tours.
He added: “I predict that next year, companies will also cut back on their travel and entertainment expenses.”
Adam Kamal, CEO of Rakyat Travel, said his company is already feeling the impact of the weakened ringgit on business and is absorbing the difference in currency exchange rates.
He commented: “People will still travel but there will be a shift (in destination choices). Due to aggressive airline promotions, South-east Asian and Asian destinations such as China and South Korea will benefit the most.”
Concurring with his point is Mint Leong, managing director of Sunflower Holidays, which customises tours to Europe.
She observed that families are still going on holiday, but are shortening their lengths of stay and downgrading accommodation on their vacations.
The Malaysian government is conducting a comprehensive study on the ringgit’s depreciation to determine its impact on imports, exports, inflation, manpower and others, according to national news agency Bernama.