KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — The government has been urged to place the tourism and hospitality workforce on the vaccination programme’s priority list, after frontliners and alongside other high-risk groups, said Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) president Datuk N. Subramaniam,
He said that the tourism and hotel industry employs 3.6 million individuals and is one of the main contributors to the country’s economy, and must not be allowed to collapse.
“We must prepare and assure the world that Malaysia is ready to receive international tourists once the borders reopen.
“We must be ready for recovery and maintain our tourism capacity as well as our competitiveness in the region,” he said in a statement today.
Ever since the second movement control order (MCO) was implemented in early January, and along with the spike in the number of Covid-19 cases reported daily, more hotels were reportedly closing or planning to close.
He opined that this is the harsh reality of the industry and unofficially, more than 100 hotels had ceased operations since March 2020, affecting over 7,000 employees directly, with the rest either on a prolonged pay-cut or unpaid leave.
He said that the MCO has robbed the industry of any hopes of recovery this year, and the industry is set to lose, at minimum, an average of RM300 million in revenues for every two weeks (of MCO), after losing an estimated RM6.5 billion last year.
“Immediate help is needed to keep hotels afloat, and MAH has submitted a 19-point proposal for immediate assistance for the hotel industry to the government in an emergency meeting with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (Motac) yesterday,” he said.
Among the 19 points are to resolve current delays in the Wage Subsidy programme under the Social Security Organisation (Socso), in which hotels had applied but have yet to receive the funds, besides the immediate increase of discount for electricity and water from 10 to 50 per cent for hotels, up to September 2021. — Bernama