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Inflation for tourists - how fast are prices rising?

Posted by antoniamitchell on 11/7/2015 at 04:52


I was watching a Migrationology video today about visiting Georgetown, and Fort Cornwallis now charges 20 RM per visitor for non-Malaysians, and 10 RM for Malaysians (a pretty steep amount, considering there isn't really that much to see at the Fort). When I visited 4 years ago, it was 2 RM per person. A tenfold increase in 4 years seems remarkable, so it got me curious.

I'd expect food and transport prices to rise slowly, as those commodities are mostly consumed by locals, and I'd expect accommodation and attractions prices to rise faster, because they are more dependent on tourists (and therefore a less constrained market, with assumed deeper pockets). But I'm surprised at the huge variation in how much prices change - some places seem to barely increase, while others skyrocket.

For example, also in Penang , the Kok Lek Si Temple hasn't put their prices up at all, nor has the Blue Mansion, and the Botanical Gardens are still free. The Peranakan Museum has doubled their prices, while the Tropical Fruit Farm and Tropical Spice Garden prices seem to have gone up 60-70%. Meanwhile guesthouse prices in Penang seem to have gone up around 20-30%. But I couldn't find anything apart from the fort which had raised prices anywhere near 10x.

All of which makes the price increases seem completely arbitrary.

So my query is, for those of you that live in the region or have visited a place repeatedly over the years, how fast are prices for non-essentials rising in your experience?

#1 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566

Posted by somtam2000 on 11/7/2015 at 07:51 admin

In Bali prices have risen steadily on the back of a price of gas (as petrol subsidies have been phased out), but there's also been more general rises as standards of accommodation have improved. I'd say, broad strokes, you're paying more, but getting more for it.

But, at least in the tourist hot spots, land spec has driven up the cost of land to absurd levels, which means one of the only ways the owner is going to get their money back, is going high end.

We had friends over yesterday who were just back from Flores. A place we'd stayed at a coupla years ago for around $30 a night (and that was outrageously expensive!) was taken over by a Euro, levelled, and now charges Eu200 a night. It sounds nice and all, but the friends said no way on earth was it worth 200/night...

But if the land costs you X, and you want to make Y, well, it is just math. Thanks speculators!

In Lombok over Xmas I was surprised how midrange-priced the accommodation was -- it was generally far easier to find somewhere for $30+ a night rather than under $10, yet backpackers are still travelling around looking for those kinds deals... you'll still find some, but the shift is definitely upwards.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,065

Posted by MADMAC on 11/7/2015 at 09:30

Prices on food where I live have not increased markedly - with the caveat there are far more places catering to foreign tastes here and things like T-Bone steak and Fish n' chips are, of course, pricier than normal local food.

Real estate has gone through the roof. Literally doubled, since I moved here 8 years ago. Glad I bought then.

The cost of beer or a night out on the town hasn't changed hardly at all. That number is close to the same as always.

#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by antoniamitchell on 12/7/2015 at 03:57

Thanks, guys. Good to know.

#4 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566

Posted by daawgon on 12/7/2015 at 12:22

Compared to the formerly, Good Old USA, SE Asia's inflation ain't no big deal in my opinion. Hotel prices in the States are now so ridiculous for what one gets in return, and then it's some sterile, worn room without breakfast. In Vietnam, for instance, prices have only risen in the "hot" locations recently. I even read of $3. hostel dorm beds in Hanoi (Vietnam's most expensive town).

#5 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 1,159

Posted by Gogomobile on 13/7/2015 at 07:47

Huge increases in flights and tourists has to push up prices.

#6 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412

Posted by MADMAC on 13/7/2015 at 10:53

flights to Issan have dropped dramatically in the last year.

#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Gogomobile on 14/7/2015 at 19:16

How so? Air Asia is flying more routes as are Nok.

#8 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412

Posted by MADMAC on 15/7/2015 at 04:43

How so? Ask Air Asia how. I just know they are.

#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

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