KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — The recovery movement control order (RMCO) that will see interstate travel restrictions removed and meetings allowed augured well for the tourism industry, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said.
MAH chief executive Yap Lip Seng said it published its base guidelines for hotels on May 1 to guide them into the new norm of hotel operations that were benchmarked against the Health Ministry’s requirements.
“The announcement is significant for the tourism industry and it signals the beginning of the recovery of domestic tourism, the lifeline of the industry in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Tourism stakeholders had long prepared for this day to come, particularly the hotel industry with its very own guidelines to ensure a clean and safe stay for tourists and guests alike,” he said in a statement.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the country's unprecedented movement control order (MCO) will continue until August 31 under the new RMCO, which is set to begin on June 10 after the conditional movement control order (CMCO) expires on June 9.
Muhyiddin also said interstate travel will be allowed to resume on June 10, with the exception of the areas declared under an enhanced movement control order (EMCO), as the nation moves towards the Covid-19 recovery stage.
Yap said Malaysian hotels were ready to receive and serve guests, adding that standard operating procedures (SOPs) had always been part and parcel of hotel operations.
“In a recent survey we conducted, out of 402 hotels responded, we recorded 96 per cent adoption of SOPs in reference to safety, health and hygiene practices for Covid-19, with the balance minority awaiting reopening of operations,” he said.
He said MAH’s survey also showed a slow but consistent pickup of onward demand or hotel bookings for the coming months.
“Overall, hotels responded with demand recorded for Q3 and Q4 of 2020 indicating people’s need to travel and that they had taken advantage of promotions and packages hotels had likely introduced in advance.
“Steady demand is also seen for year 2021, signalling confidence in recovery and the new norm as part of travel,” he said.
In terms of bookings, Yap said specifically Kedah (mainland), Perak, Johor, Pahang and Kelantan were expecting short term or immediate bookings while Langkawi and Negri Sembilan are looking at year end with increased interest.
He added that Terengganu, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak on the other hand saw bookings recorded consistently for Q3 and Q4 later this year, while Penang, Melaka and Sabah are looking at steady demand growth till Q1 2021.
Yap said the industry should be expecting pickup in not only leisure travel but also business travellers following the announcement of the RMCO.
“With the industry moving into the first stage of recovery (domestic tourism), we need to plan ahead for the next, and that is the international inbound market when the borders are opened and eased.
“This will involve concerted efforts to market and promote Malaysia by both the private sector and the government, hand in hand,” Yap said.