Hotel and tourism industry continues to plead SOS from govt, calls for lockdown to breathe long term

The hotel and tourism industry will require more assistance from the government if it is to survive the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic at all, said the Malaysian Association of Hotels. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE
The hotel and tourism industry will require more assistance from the government if it is to survive the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic at all, said the Malaysian Association of Hotels. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The hotel and tourism industry will require more assistance from the government if it is to survive the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic at all, said the Malaysian Association of Hotels.

Its president Datuk N. Subramaniam said without such assistance hotels and stakeholders will have no other option but to close down.

“The industry is arguably one of the most impacted industries and has not seen any signs of recovery to date. It can no longer sustain; its survival is highly dependent on controlling the spread of Covid-19 that would enable relaxation of travel restrictions both domestically and eventually international [sic],” he said in a statement.

This can only be achieved with a long-term plan to control the situation, as the current movement control order (MCO) implementations have proven to be ineffective. 

“The industry is of the opinion that the government needs to implement stricter and more effective measures such as a total lockdown, similar to MCO 1.0 to control the spread as soon as possible.

“Limiting attendance at workplace and operation hours of economic sectors will only prolong the situation,” Subramaniam said.

He added that as long as travel restrictions are in place and both domestic and international borders are closed, the tourism and hotel industry will not survive, regardless of total lockdown or not. 

“The government cannot turn a blind eye to this fact any longer. The lives of 3.6 million people employed in the industry, or what is left of it by now, is at stake here.

“Since March 18, the industry has lost over 80 per cent of its business despite the short window of domestic tourism between the months of June 2020 till September 2020,” he said.

Subramaniam said the hotel industry alone recorded a loss of over RM6.53 billion in 2020, and an estimated loss of RM300 million for every two weeks of the MCO. 

“The loss of revenue for the hotel industry in 2021 to date, has easily added up to RM5 billion, making it worse than last year,” he said.

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