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'Separate spa zones may deter S’pore tourists'
Published on: Saturday, February 24, 2024
By: FMT, Naveen Prabu
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'Separate spa zones may deter S’pore tourists'
Spas, massage parlours and other health centres in Johor Bahru are patronised by tourists from Singapore for their lower prices. (Bernama file pic)
PETALING JAYA: A Johor tourism association chief fears that designating special zones for spas in the state may reduce Johor’s allure, especially to those from Singapore.

Johor Tourist Guides Association chairman Jimmy Leong noted that many Singaporeans come to Johor to enjoy spa facilities at much cheaper rates than in the republic.

He also questioned whether Singaporeans would share the same enthusiasm for Johor spas if they were located in a special zone.

Two weeks ago, the Johor state government had proposed designating special zones for entertainment venues, karaoke and reflexology centres, spas, and massage parlours in the state.

“When tourists need to go to the spa, they will go to the nearest one. So, definitely it’s not a good idea to zone spas,” said Leong.

He also said that since spas and wellness programmes primarily serve health and wellbeing, confining them to specific areas through zoning might be unnecessary.

While Leong said illegal massage parlours have been discovered, he said the issue was one for the authorities to curtail.

“The issue revolves around enforcement. They (the government) have to identify the legal ones and eradicate the illegal ones,” he said.

Previously, Jafni Shukor,, the executive councillor for housing and local government, said that the zone proposal would help allow more efficient monitoring of entertainment venues, karaoke and reflexology centres, spas, and massage parlours.

Jafni said that the proposal was initiated after complaints from Johor residents regarding an increase in such businesses in residential areas., Berita Harian reported. While most were legitimate, some engaged in illegal activities.

Ryan Lee, the regional chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises Association, said Jafni’s proposal would act as a catalyst for economic growth. Collaboration between government, businesses, and others would be crucial.

“This includes setting up special teams to check on things and make sure everything’s going well. By doing this, we can keep these businesses healthy and bring in more visitors, which makes our economy stronger,” he said.

Lee also said that introducing eco-friendly practices within zoned areas can enhance the appeal of these zones to a wider audience.

On Feb 1, the Johor Bahru City Council suspended all applications for business licenses pertaining to spas, traditional treatment or massage parlours, and reflexology centres.

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