Fri, 09 May 2003

Hotels fully booked ahead of long weekend

Sri Wahyuni, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta

A week before the long weekend of May 15 to May 18, most hotels in Yogyakarta are fully booked although many of them, especially the unrated ones, are not offering special packages.

Like Bali, Yogyakarta is a major tourist destination in Indonesia.

The Yogyakarta Hyatt Regency Hotel, a five-star hotel with 269 rooms on the northern outskirts of Yogyakarta stopped taking reservations for May 15 and May 16 two weeks ago.

"For May 17 and 18, only 10 percent of the rooms are available," the hotel's public relations manager Wishnu Handoyo told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

The same goes for the Plaza Hotel, a four-star hotel on Jl. Colombo, which has also been rejecting reservations as all its 129 rooms have been booked.

Even an unrated hotel like the Shafira on Jl. Suprapto, which has only 29 rooms and rates from Rp 60,000 to Rp 120,000 per night, has been fully booked since two weeks ago.

"I'm sorry, we have no vacancies from May 14 to May 18," Wiharyoko, a receptionist from the hotel, told a customer on the phone.

The government has decided to move the Prophet Muhammad's birthday from its original date on May 14, so it would be next to the Buddhist Enlightment Day to allow for a four-day weekend next week.

It will be the second of eight holidays this year the government has decided to adjust in a bid to boost tourism, which has been in a slump since the terror attacks in Bali in October last year.

The first practice of the holiday shifting this year took place in March when the celebration of the Islamic New Year was moved forward from Tuesday, March 4 to Monday, March 3.

The government said that so far the policy had managed to increase people's awareness to visit tourist attractions across the country.

Speaking to the Post, Risnasari of the Plaza Hotel said that her hotel had also referred callers to other hotels, but most of the others were full too.

"I think it has become a trend here," she said.

The hotel has offered a 30 percent discount from its normal rate of Rp 420,000 per night for its deluxe rooms to attract more visitors for the long weekend.

It also is offering a 50 percent discount from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Pierre's Bar, a 20 percent discount for food and beverage, and free-of-charge for all the facilities at its Kirana Health Club.

Similarly, the Hyatt is also offering a similar special long weekend package of Rp 439,000++ per night, compared to the normal rate of Rp 599,000++. The hotel also has scrapped a Rp 72,000 surcharge, added a free shuttle bus trip from the hotel to the popular shopping areas on Jl. Malioboro and a free 20-minute ride on andong traditional horse carts.

Wishnu hailed the government policy, as he deduced that it would contribute significantly to hotels' efforts to increase their occupancy rates.