COVID-19 third wave: Hotel sector to suffer again

SEREMBAN : The start of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) on June 10 has enabled hotels to revive, albeit slowly, but the industry is facing another hard time due to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) at the virus hotspots, calls to avoid crowded places and the recent spike in cases, have discouraged people to go out, more so to travel.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer, Yap Lip Seng predicts a drop of around 15 per cent in hotel-stay rate for the next two or three weeks, involving RM60 million to RM100 million in total income loss.

“During the MCO period since March 18, hotel stays had fallen to the lowest, which was only about five per cent.

“However, with the reopening of domestic tourism since June, hotels began to receive bookings and the accommodation rate was highest at 42 per cent during the National Day weekend,” he told Bernama, here.

He said research showed that the industry had lost about RM3 billion for the first six months and was expected to experience another drop of RM3.3 billion for the next six months, totalling RM6.3 billion in losses for this year.

“Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the country’s tourism sector could only depend on the domestic market and this situation is forecasted to prolong until the middle of next year. At the same time, hotels are still in a bad situation, forcing them to take cost-saving measures, especially reducing wages,” said Yap. 

Meanwhile, Negeri Sembilan MAH chairman, Haziz Hassan said hotels in the state had lost over 50 per cent of bookings for accommodation, courses, seminars and other events, following rising COVID-19 cases.

“After the Prime Minister’s announcement on allowing interstate travel in June, the hotel sector was active again and bookings started to become consistent. However, after the spike in COVID-19 cases, we will be affected again as there have been calls received to postpone or cancel the bookings.

“When this happens, the hotel sector is the most affected. Reviving it will take time, probably by next June only the situation will be stable. Whatever, we have to accept the situation that hotels’ income is dropping,” he said.

He added that hotels still needed to be in operation despite the decreasing number of guests, for the purposes of maintenance, security and cleanliness.

In Port Dickson recently, it was found that there were less visitors than usual and the beaches were noticeably empty.

Negeri Sembilan recorded tourist arrivals of 6.43 million last year.

Government officer, Mohamad Shahriel Hamdan, 42, from Kuala Lumpur admitted that the latest pandemic situation in the country caused him to cancel his holiday plan with his family in Port Dickson.

“Although there in no restriction on interstate travel so far, I decided not to travel anywhere as my family’s safety is most important. Of course we will be careful, but we can’t see the virus and as such, it is better to be cautious.

“I do not want to put my family at risk; we can go for a holiday when the situation has improved and is safe,” he said.

By : Siti Fauziah HasanBERNAMA

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