15 Percent of Hotels in Malaysia May Have to Shut Down Operations

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Approximately 15 percent of the hotels in Malaysia may have to shut down their operations due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said this finding was based on a survey conducted by the association on April 16.

“From the same survey, 50 percent of the hotels responded that they are considering ceasing operations and 35 percent of hoteliers said they would temporary halt their businesses.

Izzrafiq Alias/The Star

“Some hotel operators said they would remain closed at least till year-end, while some said they would only resume their businesses after a vaccine for Covid-19 is found,” he told the New Straits Times today.

A total of 4,880 hotels, including budget hotels, in the country are registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

Asked when the closure would begin to take place, Yap said it would probably happen in the coming weeks.

“We do not know at the moment. Majority of the hotel owners and operators initially were on a ‘wait and see’ strategy, not knowing how long the MCO and the situation will last.

“Now that the MCO period is extended, many hotels may be forced to decide on the final outcome in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

He said MAH was expecting a slow recovery for the hotel industry, adding that hotel operators would be focusing on domestic tourism, once the MCO was lifted.

“Tourism is not going to be the same (after this), including the aviation sector, that is facing with an uphill task of battling perception post-Covid-19.

“We expect a slow recovery as we will not experience the same volume (of tourists) anytime soon. We foresee the industry to recover by middle of next year.”

Meanwhile, more hotels in Penang are also expected to cease operations soon in the aftermath of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

After Jazz Hotel announced yesterday that it is shutting its doors, NST learnt that two more major hospitality establishments in Penang will follow suit.

The two businesses are Penaga Hotel and Jerejak Island Resort, both of which are managed by VHM Hotel Management Group.

Memorandums similar to Jazz Hotel’s, which are circulating on social media, claim that the two establishments will be closed by month’s end and their staff will be retrenched.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang Chapter chairman Khoo Boo Lim confirmed the hotels’ imminent closure but stressed that the association has yet to be officially informed of the matter.

Zhafaran Nasib/The Star

Meanwhile, a source within the hotel industry said that other hotel operators are feeling the pinch following the coronavirus outbreak and have been suffering heavy losses over the past few months.

It is said the managements of most hotels here had invested heavily in their operations in expectation of good business during the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign, which has been cancelled.