Johor hotels offer ‘co-working’ space to stay in business


JOHOR BARU: As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to increase, tourism industry players in Johor have shifted their focus to essential and work related travels rather than for leisure.

They said it was not likely that people would start travelling for leisure any time soon or even in the first half of next year and as such are changing strategies to stay in business.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Johor chapter chairman Ivan Teo said some hotels had turned their premises into “co-working” spaces to attract the working population, especially those working from home.

“Generally, co-working space refers to a neutral space where people work independently, on their respective projects.

“Some hotels are allowing the public to use their facilities and space at daily or hourly rates, ” said Teo, adding that this was a temporary solution for the hotels to continue to operate after being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic since March.

“Some hotels are also offering food delivery services to generate income, ” he said.

Teo said while industry players found creative ways to go on, they must ensure they adhered to the standard operating procedures (SOP) to keep both the public and staff safe from infections.

“We have to plan and make changes along the way as the Covid-19 situation is not constant.

“For instance, we were focusing on domestic travels previously but cannot depend on that now as some states have since been placed under conditional movement control order (MCO), with no inter-state travel allowed, ” he said.

Malaysia Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said it would probably take at least about a year for people to start travelling for leisure again.

“While they may have confidence in the tourism industry here, including in the industry’s commitment in adhering to the SOP, they will naturally still be concerned about taking health risks.

“Also, many people are facing financial difficulties now and not inclined to go on holidays, ” he said, adding that most travels would only be for essential matters, including work.

On the fate of tour guides, he said many had started new ventures, including starting online businesses or becoming e-hailing drivers.

“Industry players, especially hoteliers, have to think out of the box to survive during this difficult times, ” he said.

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