Singapore-Desaru ferry services to start operating from July 7

Tickets and service schedules will be made available online from June 30. PHOTO: DESARU COAST MALAYSIA/INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE - Singapore-Desaru ferry services will start operations from July 7, connecting Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal with Johor's Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal.

Tickets and service schedules will be made available online on Desaru Coast's website and Batam Fast's website from June 30.

According to a press release issued by the Desaru Coast Destination Resort and Desaru Link Ferry Services on Wednesday (June 22), the ferry services will operate one round trip service per day from Thursday to Sunday.

The ferry service of 90 minutes each way will operate with a 330-passenger capacity for the initial months. The frequency and capacity of the ferries will be adjusted if there is high demand for the service, said the operator.

Prices were not stated.

Industry players and tourists applauded the move to further open up travel between Singapore and Desaru, on the eastern coast of Johor.

Currently, it is accessible to travellers from Singapore by a 90-minute drive or a nearly four-hour bus ride from the Woodlands Checkpoint.

The general manager of the hotel Four Points by Sheraton Desaru, Mr Maverick Loh, said: “This news was highly anticipated by everyone in the Desaru Coast area.

"I’m confident this will boost visitation to the local businesses and contribute to the thriving social economic hub.”

He expects the number of hotel bookings to increase following the start of the ferry service but said he was confident the hotel would have enough manpower to handle any surge in guest numbers.

Ms Roslina Arbak, managing director and chief executive of Desaru Development Holdings One, said, "We thank all government agencies for supporting and working closely with us to facilitate this new international connectivity, which will make Desaru Coast even more accessible to international travellers."

Singaporeans were excited about the new ferry service, with some already making plans to book tickets.

Mr Christopher Thung, 32, an auditor, said he was planning a short getaway on an upcoming weekend.

“I love travelling via ferry because it gives off more holiday vibes than travelling by road. If you don’t own a car, it’s cumbersome to travel all the way to Desaru. Now with the ferry, I can finally visit Desaru without all the hassle,” he added.

Mrs Nisa Rizvi, a Singaporean private banker based in Dubai, said her extended family was already planning a trip to Desaru in July and the new ferry service would make their travel easier.

“We had been planning for Desaru and when this news appeared that a ferry will be launched, we were ecstatic. The ferry is so much more convenient, straight up to Desaru,” said Mrs Rizvi, who is in her 40s.

Ms Lavinia Rajaram, head of public relations for Asia Expedia Group Brands, said that in the past 30 days, Desaru had accounted for about 20 per cent of search queries on expedia.com.sg for hotels in Johor state.

“Desaru has typically been a popular getaway resort town in Johor, Malaysia. However, due to its distance from Singapore’s Woodlands/Tuas checkpoints, many travellers might have considered other destinations instead to avoid the long drive required,” she said in response to queries.

Following the approval of the service on Tuesday, however, she said search demand for hotels in Desaru grew by 12 per cent over the average of the past 30 days.

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