With the reinforced Movement Control Order (MCO 3.0) and recent lockdown in place, the private sector was urged to enforce stricter measures in workplaces and also work-from-home (WFH) as much as possible.
On call for more financial support, PM hinted the lack of funds after all the past economic stimulus packages. He went on saying the government will look into other avenues and forms of support as to minimise burden on industries.
Thus, the question beckons, what has happened to the hotel and the tourism industry and what has the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MOTAC) done to protect it from dwindling?
Since March 2020, the hotel and tourism industry lost over 80% of its business with the hotel industry alone recording a staggering loss of over RM6.53 billion for the year 2020. Year-to-date (YTD May 2021) it has already recorded a loss of RM5 billion, making it worse than last year.
From budget hotels to renowned 5-star players, all are not spared. Hotels have been seeing close to zero-digit sales since the MCO was implemented. Malaysia is currently seeing its worst trend in history with hotels closing down and cease operation one after another. Isn’t this the biggest wake-up call for MOTAC? Why aren’t they responding?
If this wasn’t bad enough, last minute guidelines, vague SOPs and U-turn decisions have been creating unnecessary confusion further hurting a hotel’s ability to operate. In seeking answers and guidance from the authorities, no one seems to know what is going on and what to do.
What is MOTAC doing about this? Why has there not been any form of targeted assistance for the hospitality industry? Is the tourism and hospitality industry an insignificant contributor towards the country’s economy? Has the government simply given up or totally clueless on how to address this? Is this the end to industry?
A long-term plan is needed towards controlling the situation and eventually reopening tourism with domestic travel as a start. The current lacklustre action and non-existent support by the government depicts a total disregard to the industry. Why aren’t there clear goals and objectives in ensuring the sustainability of the hotel and tourism industry?
In balancing lives and livelihood, it is clear one’s livelihood does not matter if you are in the hospitality industry. It is agreed that protecting lives is vital, however, similarly government must find ways and alternatives such as creating safe travel bubbles, providing travel permits for those inoculated and much more in ensuring the industry stays afloat.
As shared by The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), we reiterated the point that regardless it is full or partial MCO, tourism and hotels cannot survive as long as travel restrictions are in place and to date no signs of recovery for tourism and hotels.
Being allowed to operate does not mean tourism and hotels can survive, for as long as travel restrictions are in place, tourism and hotels will not survive. The hotel industry alone provides employment for 3.6 million lives. What else is the government waiting for? If this “wait and see” attitude persists, the hotel and tourism industry will simply perish.