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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — Hotels in the touristy island of Langkawi saw bookings drop as much as 60 per cent in the last two days following the government’s reintroduction of the movement control order (MCO) barring interstate travel nationwide.
While the MCO is supposed to last only two weeks until January 26, Langkawi Tourism Association chief executive, Zainuddin Kadir told Utusan Malaysia that 100 per cent of hotel bookings on the island or the Chinese New Year holiday next month have been cancelled.
“Tourists do not want to take the risk when there is an MCO, or CMCO, or RMCO, especially not knowing when the order will come to and end, so bookings made for the Chinese New Year have all been cancelled,” he was quoted saying today.
“I received complaints from tourism players here [Kedah] who said as soon as the announcements (for MCO) were made, they started receiving cancellations from their would-be customers.
“The undeniable fact is that a majority of the domestic tourists in Langkawi right now are from the six states that were put under the MCO,” Zainuddin added.
The latest round of movement restrictions were announced last Monday by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The strictest conditions, which prohibits all non-essential movement and businesses from operating, have been placed on Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya, Penang, Johor, and Labuan where daily Covid-19 cases have been the highest.
Six others ― Pahang, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu, and Kelantan ― have been placed under conditional MCO or CMCO, a slightly relaxed iteration of the order. Only two states: Perlis and Sarawak, are currently in the recovery phase of the MCO where life is the closest it can get to normal.
Zainuddin also claimed that the tourism industry stand to lose an estimated RM120 million in the latest round of restrictions.
“It cannot be denied that Langkawi became the main attraction when interstate travel bans were lifted; in December alone we received around 256,000 domestic tourists.
“The effects of the enforcement will not only affect hoteliers and resorts, but also the car rental services, restaurants, taxis, and even ferry operators,” he was quoted saying.
He added that discussions will be made with the relevant agencies and associations, including the Langkawi Development Board to form a taskforce that will identify ways to overcome the ‘gloom’ of tourists in Langkawi during the various stages of MCO.
“We are aware the enforcement [of the MCO) is unavoidable for the sake of combating the spread of Covid-19, but attention should be given to the people of Langkawi to prosper,” he added.