Hotels in Malaysia are experiencing booking cancellations throughout the country, despite the conditional movement control order (MCO) only involving Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Sabah.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said the impact goes beyond accommodations in affected areas.
"KL and Selangor, as well as Putrajaya, are main markets of domestic tourists. We immediately saw cancellations at destinations all over the country.
"Sabah was already badly affected even without the conditional MCO. Almost all tourism activities there were shut since the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.
The conditional MCO in several areas come about three months after the government began to ease restrictions under the recovery MCO phase.
Yap thinks hotels are more well prepared for another round of restrictions. He added, however, hotels are subjected to circumstances beyond their control.
“One – we do not have control over standard operating procedures (SOP) set for the conditional MCO that are still unclear at the moment. Two – we do not have control over market movements that are extremely sensitive at the moment,” he revealed.
Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) national deputy president Sri Ganesh Michiel said communication of SOPs by the authorities needs to be improved.
“Our members are unsure of the right procedure and regulation. This in turn affects their decision making in business matters,” he said.
According to Ganesh, budget hotels in Mukim Klang are still struggling to obtain clear and precise information.
This is despite the area being under the conditional MCO phase since Friday (Oct 9).
Ganesh said proper SOP has to be clearly communicated to hotels so that they can sustain operations and workers’ livelihood.
“A very good guideline needs to be in place. Otherwise, this will negatively affect the tourism and hotel industry further,” he said.