109 hotels and other short-term accommodation operators have ceased operations amid health and travel restrictions, says minister
pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
TRAVEL restrictions, which have been imposed in accordance with the series of Movement Control Order (MCO) that began in March, have taken a toll on the tourism sector with over 200 companies forced to close shop.
Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said a total of 109 hotels and other short-term accommodation operators had ceased operations as they could not sustain their business amid the health and travel restrictions.
She told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that of the total, 77 companies voluntarily shut down their business and 32 ceased operations on court orders or self-imposed wind-up.
Apart from the hospitality firms, 95 travel agencies also collapsed, of which 57 companies voluntarily ceased operations and 38 agencies were ordered to liquidate by the court or opted for voluntary liquidation.
Nancy was quoting statistics provided by the Companies Commission of Malaysia, which was collated until Oct 31, 2020.
She said 77 companies are categorised under the hotels and resort hotels, motels, apartment hotels, chalets, resthouse, guesthouse, bed and breakfast units, hostels, homestay and other short-term accommodation activities.
“Meanwhile, 57 companies that are involved in the travel-agency business, tour-operating activities and other reservation services have closed operations, while 38 were ordered to or voluntarily wind up their business,” she said yesterday.
Nancy was responding to a query by Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Barisan Nasional-Machang) on bankrupt companies recorded in the hotel and tourism industry as a result of the MCO.
Despite the closures, Nancy added that 135 tourism-related companies applied for licence renewal between March 31 and Oct 31, 2020.
She said the recent approval for interstate and inter-district travels between green zones is expected to revive the local tourism activities.
The tourism industry globally has been one of the industries which have been hit hard by international travel restrictions, as well as interstate travel.
The government had earlier announced a RM200 million allocation through the Tourism Recovery Plan in Budget 2021 to assist industry players that have been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the recovery plan, Motac is expected to introduce several recovery measures including discounts for tourist destinations, family holiday packages, arts and culture promotions, accommodation vouchers and the “Meet in Malaysia” campaign.
The financial relief was introduced in addition to the economic stimulus packages such as the Prihatin Rakyat economic stimulus package, Additional Prihatin SME Economic Stimulus Package and short-term National Economic Recovery Plan.
Apart from the RM200 million assistance, the government also proposed several other allotments for the tourism sector, including RM50 million for repair and maintenance works of tourism facilities nationwide and RM1,000 of Prihatin Special Grant for 20,000 traders and hawkers in Sabah who are affected by the drop in tourist arrivals due to the pandemic.