Hotel industry suffers another blow with 3rd wave infection

Spike in Covid-19 cases causes cancellations at almost all domestic tourist destinations


THE hotel industry is suffering yet another setback in its road to recovery as the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) resulted in drastic cancellations in hotel bookings.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) CEO Yap Lip Seng said the week of Oct 10 saw occupancy going down further to approximately 30%.

“We are expecting it to drop further with the implementation of CMCO in Sabah, Kuala Lumpur (KL), Putrajaya and Selangor.

“The spike in Covid-19 cases had caused cancellations at almost all domestic tourist destinations,” he told The Malaysian Reserve recently.

The peak of hotel occupancy was recorded during the long weekend in August at 42%, which later stabilised at approximately 39% before the decline.

It is learned that the average occupancy rate at hotels stood between 20 and 30% since the government relaxed the MCO rules.

Yap said the rising cases of coronavirus had caused cancellations at almost all domestic tourist destinations.

“Hotels’ standard operating procedures (SOPs) were already beyond basic requirements and were designed to address the spread of Covid-19 during its peak.

“The MAH’s clean and safe Malaysia hygiene and safety certification, for example, was crafted to cover all areas of the hotel operations and external factors, so that our clients and occupants would feel safer.”

Malaysia has been caught in the third wave of infections since September, stifling the recovery of the tourism and hotel industry.

The sector saw a drastic dip in occupancy and revenue rates, with an estimated loss of over RM3.3 billion in room revenue alone from January until June.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents VP Mohd Akil Mohd Yusof said Malaysians have backed out on their bookings in the past month due to the rise in cases even in adjacent states to tourist destinations.

“Locals being wary is hurting the industry, and not just the tourism industry on the surface, but hurting the hoteliers, the airlines, as well as local business owners such as food and beverage, because they also receive earnings from tourists.”

Mohd Akil said the only way for the industry and subsequently — affected sectors — could survive would be if the borders are reopened to countries with low infection rates, and if their visits could be regulated and streamlined through one body.

“Given the sensitivity of the situation right now, tourism agencies should be given the choice to arrange itineraries for individuals who choose to come and visit Malaysia, as the agencies will also make sure that they comply with the SOPs,” he said.

The latest survey by MAH noted that the average year-to-date July hotel occupancy rate stood at 32.3%, while the month itself recorded an average hotel occupancy of 36.69% — with Pahang, Terengganu and Perak recording over 50% occupancy.

The states hit the worst in term of occupancy were Labuan, Putrajaya and Perlis.