Hoteliers lost RM66m in revenue on booking cancellations

Despite the situation, MAH and Matta will continue to work together in building the tourism industry, says MAH CEO


UP TO 157,000 room booking cancellations or RM66 million losses of revenue have been recorded so far due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said.

MAH CEO Yap Lip Seng said the cancellations so far are mainly from the mainland China market, but it noted that there have been reports of cancellation from the domestic market, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Europe.

“South Korea cancellations increased since the government issued a travel advisory against Malaysia,” he said in a press briefing yesterday.

As of Feb 17, 2020, Kuala Lumpur (KL), Sabah and Selangor noted the highest number of room cancellations at 46,354; 32,392; and 22,639 respectively, totalling to individual losses of RM22.17 million, RM11.55 million and RM7.06 million.

Yap added that despite the situation, MAH and the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) will continue to work together in building the tourism industry.

“More so in times of crisis, together with the government of Malaysia,” he said.

Meanwhile, the two national associations held multiple discussions for their respective submission of proposals to various ministries in formulating stimulus package for the tourism industry, which has taken a hit from the Covid-19 outbreak.

Despite the hit, the industry players believe this situation serves as an opportunity to encourage greater domestic travel.

Matta secretary general Nigel Wong said there was a higher demand for domestic destinations as a result of the slowdown in international travel.

“The crisis has made us all unite and promote their tours together. “Matta has also given 10 proposals to the government for the stimulus package,” he said.

The economic stimulus package to mitigate the challenges faced by industries from the coronavirus outbreak is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad next week.

Subsequently, Matta will be holding its first-ever domestic travel fair called “Matta Cuti-Cuti Malaysia”, which will be held on April 4-5 at the KL Convention Centre which is expected to collect RM40 million in revenue.

The two national associations have also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Global Doctors Malaysia (GDM), a private healthcare provider, to administer a series of medical and healthcare to support to MAH member hotels across the country.

GDM group chairman Datuk Dr Sharifah Fauziah Alhabshi said the tourism industry is susceptible to the impact of the global health crisis first-hand.

“At GDM, we advocate and adopt the policy of prevention is better than cure for both employees and hotel guests. We are delighted to collaborate with MAH, taking the initiative to mitigate health situations and minimise or even avoid negative impact to the tourism industry,” she said.

The MoU includes current preparedness advisory supporting Malaysian hotels in dealing with the spread of Covid-19, ensuring hotels are safe for tourists.

The group’s medical services also include primary and secondary care, ambulatory care, emergency medical services, vaccination clinics, corporate healthcare management services and tertiary network referral services over its network of centres and clinics in Malaysia, China, Indonesia and Thailand.