Here are five reasons why food at tourist attractions is more expensive than in other places


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Langkawi’s recent news from ‘siakap kayangan‘ probably made some people scared of spending money on food while traveling.

The burning question is why restaurants in ordinary places are cheaper, often by half, and do not incur hidden costs and additional taxes.

People are afraid that it is their turn to be the next victim.

But the fact is that no matter where the tourist attractions are, the price of food and drink will be higher than average.

Why does money sent for food go cheaper at tourist attractions?

It is perhaps time to reflect on this for a moment, to disentangle fact and fiction.

Read more: Another curious case of expensive ‘Ikan Siakap’ surfaces in Langkawi

Diners happily wait for their meal at a restaurant in Hong Kong. (Credit: Fernando Fong)

Rent expensive at retail

Tourist attractions are places where tourists travel to, and often spend money on, luxuries and indulgences.

The rent for stalls or shops in tourist areas is generally higher than those outside these places.

In fact, real estate lease in tourist areas is often the most expensive of all commercial strips.

Therefore, if businessmen want to sell food and drink here, they will have to bear a higher cost.

To ensure profit, the food and drink they sell must be double the price.

After all, it’s a business, not a charity.

A cafe in an upscale mall in Taipei, Taiwan. (Credit: Fernando Fong)


Most of the tourist attractions sights are not in the city center, but usually in the mountains, seas, lakes, rivers and other remote places.

For this reason, transportation is not convenient.

Many scenic spots are some distance from the city center and there is nothing to eat around these scenic spots.

Remoteness not only affects food arrival time, it also affects fresh produce; it doesn’t last that long.

Not to mention that infrastructure costs more to build in these often remote areas.

Naturally, companies will take advantage of this fact and charge customers for an arm and a leg.

A five star resort in Langkawi. (Credit: Fernando Fong)


Besides the rent of shops, the cost of running businesses is also relatively high.

For companies located in remote areas, they have to spend much more on labor and transportation costs than bringing the items to an urban restaurant.

They must regularly bring in raw materials such as food ingredients, which significantly increases operating costs.

For example, tourist attractions on a mountain have to transport ingredients from below.

This is why, as an example, a typical fast food burger costs less than RM10 in the lowlands, while an American burger in a highland resort commands RM40.

Depending on the location, companies may also need to transport ingredients by boat. These disadvantages can also significantly increase the cost.

And it’s not just because the restaurant is upscale.

Read more: Genting’s Five Guys burger chain disappoints hungry customers

Passengers enjoying their meal on a tourist train in Ehime Prefecture, Japan. (Credit: Fernando Fong)

Seasonal factors

Trips are divided into off season and high season.

Tourist attractions will receive fewer tourists out of season, so businesses will only make higher profits during the peak season of the year.

And in high season, the number of tourists can be surprisingly high.

As a result, the daily flow of customers is more than businesses can usually handle.

As tourists usually eat meals around the same times, supply is less than demand, so prices will rise accordingly.

A child having fun on a beach in Krabi, Thailand. Off-season vacations not only offer cheaper prices, but also allow you to avoid the crowds. (Credit: Fernando Fong)

Occasional business psychology

Spending at tourist attractions is often a one-time affair for most visitors and most of the time they are very unlikely to become repeat customers.

Therefore, companies would charge a higher price to take advantage of this opportunity.

Also, when people are on vacation, they tend to worry less about spending, as long as they are having fun.

After all, happiness is the most important thing when you’re on vacation.

To be fair to honest companies, they also charge more for the care and service they provide to customers.

So, with the above mentioned factors in mind, you can have a better idea of ​​how to save on food if you wish.

After all, the extra cash can still be useful for an extra sightseeing excursion or adventure that you might not have had if you spent more on food.

Street food is always the cheapest. Here, tourists visit a pancake stand in Penang. (Credit: Fernando Fong)

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