PETALING JAYA: The move to utilise hotels as quarantine centres for Malaysians returning from abroad is unlikely to have a significant impact on the hotel industry, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Hotels Training and Education Centre chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said only a small number of hotels in the country had been gazetted as quarantine centres.
“Around 49 to 50 hotels have been gazetted for this purpose but there are over four thousand hotels in the country that have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis, ” he told StarBiz.
Yap said the initiative would bring in very little revenue, adding that many hotels are doing it as part of their corporate social responsibility to the government.
“Being a quarantine centre also incurs additional costs, as there will be a need to clean and disinfect the place.
“It does help in the sense that at least there will be movements, as it will keep some of the employees busy and give them a chance to retain their jobs. But overall, it’s not a big impact, ” he said.
Effective April 3, Malaysians returning from abroad and foreigners who are permitted to enter the country will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
To cater for the expected large number of returnees, the government had gazetted hundreds of premises and facilities including four and five-star hotels.
Year-to-date March 20, the local hotel industry has laid off 4% of its employees, with more taking unpaid leave and a pay cut as the sector buckles from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As at March 20, of a sample size of 56,299 hotel industry employees, 2,041 people were laid off, 9,773 (17%) were asked to take unpaid leave and 5,054 (9%) received pay cuts.
By state, Kuala Lumpur – with a sampling size of 17,826 employees – was the worst hit, with 542 workers (3%) being laid off, 3,641 (20%) were asked to go on unpaid leave and 2,880 (16%) received pay cuts.
MAH said RM75.69mil in losses were recorded by the local hotel industry from Jan 22 to March 20, with a total of 193,057 room cancellations recorded during the period as a result of the pandemic.
Kuala Lumpur saw the highest number of cancellations at 61,859, resulting in a loss of RM24.91mil during the period.
Sabah was the second highest, registering losses totalling RM11.79mil as at March 20, with 33,769 cancellations during the period.
The third highest was Selangor, which recorded losses totalling RM9.05mil or 25,940 bookings.
Penang registered the fourth highest number of cancellations at 18,476, resulting in losses totalling RM8.96mil as at March 20.
As for occupancy rates, with a sampling size of 94,133 rooms, the MAH said total occupancy levels stood at 32% as at March 17.