Malaysian Association of Hotels urges govt to rescue tourism industry before it’s too late

There has been an immediate drop in hotel occupancy with the spike in Covid-19 cases at the end of September 2020. — Picture by KE Ooi
There has been an immediate drop in hotel occupancy with the spike in Covid-19 cases at the end of September 2020. — Picture by KE Ooi

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 ― The government needs to acknowledge that there has been an immediate drop in hotel occupancy with the spike in Covid-19 cases at the end of September 2020, and that the tourism industry is in need of more assistance, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said.

MAH’s chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said a recent survey by MAH had reported an alarming overall hotel occupancy dip of 35 per cent in the first week of October, 30 per cent in the second week and eventually down to only 20 per cent in the last week of October.

“So far, from the announced initiatives under Budget 2021, little was mentioned on sustaining tourism businesses other than the extension of wage subsidy at the same amount of RM600 per employee per month, which the industry had long voiced as insufficient, when the industry had lost almost 80 per cent of business.

“The industry had repeatedly urged the government to consider a higher amount based on percentage, 50 per cent for employees with wages up to RM4,000 per month and 30 per cent for employees earning RM4,001 to RM8,000.

‘’This model is adopted in many countries to support the industry and to protect jobs of the people,” he said in a statement, yesterday.

He added, without a higher cash assistance to the hotel businesses and again leaving the loan moratorium at the discretion of financial institutions and commercial banks, industry stakeholders especially hotels and travel operators were being left stranded and would be forced to make difficult decisions as well as take drastic actions to survive.

“The industry, however, is grateful that the government is extending direct assistance to displaced airline employees, but the government needs to look at the situation in entirety where airlines, an essential stakeholder of the tourism industry, must also be protected,” said Yap. ― Bernama

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