Press Release: 28 January 2020
(for immediate release)
Malaysian Association of Hotels
C5-3, Wisma MAH, Jalan Ampang Utama 1/1
One Ampang Avenue
68000, Ampang, Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel: +603 4251 8477
Fax: +603 4252 8477
Yap Lip Seng
Chief Executive Officer
M: +6012 280 0300
Mohamad Hazzriq Shah Bakri
M: +6013 362 4717
PRIORITY FOR HOTELS
“Hotels Working Closely With
Authorities To Assure Public On Preventing Spread Of The Wuhan Coronavirus To
Wisma MAH, Ampang (28 January
In an industry meeting held yesterday and today, Malaysian Association of
Hotels (MAH) and other tourism stakeholders made a commitment to support
precautionary measures and standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the
government to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, including the
decision to temporary halt immigration facilities for citizens of Wuhan and
areas around Hubei province. Hotels, to date had received multiple
cancellations and are expecting more to come.
With the current reported
cases in Malaysia, tourism is on the spotlight as Malaysia under the Visit
Malaysia 2020 campaign, is expecting 30 million tourist arrivals with
composition of 3.48 million arrivals from the China market. According to MAH,
cancellation of room bookings picked up since the government of China issued a
ban on its citizens from booking overseas tours, flights and hotels on
Saturday, 26 January 2020, at the height of the Chinese New Year holidays.
“We have earlier
received multiple cancellations of free independent travellers (FIT) at hotels
around the country, and since the ban, we have been contacted by online travel
agents (OTA), local and international travel agents to allow cancellation of
group bookings from now till the end of February 2020,” said Kamaruddin
Baharin, President of MAH.
At the moment, hotels
both local and international brands had expressed willingness to facilitate
postponement of bookings or cancellations and refunds of payments made. MAH estimated
losses suffered by hotels to reach hundreds of thousands at hotels especially
at destinations where it is highly dependent on China market. “Hotels at Kota
Kinabalu and Langkawi in particular, are anticipating a drop in occupancy from
30% to 60% immediately, while other destinations like Melaka, Ipoh, Port
Dickson and Penang are looking at an immediate impact from 10% to 50% but this
is just the beginning,” added Yap Lip Seng, Chief Executive Officer of MAH.
When asked about
preparedness of hotels in managing the situation, MAH was quick to assure the
public that hotels are fully prepared with sanitising facilities for both
guests and employees, scheduled cleaning of all contact and touch points as
well as isolation procedures for any suspected cases. “Emergency and
extraordinary preparedness are part and parcel of hotels’ standard operating
procedures (SOP), this is something that homes cannot provide. Home sharing
accommodation such as Airbnb does not provide assurance of safety and health,
staying in a home converted tourist accommodation is always a risk,” he added.
At the moment, various
industry stakeholders affected including airlines, travel & tour operators
and hotels are considering immediate contingency plans to boost tourism from
other markets. “We are working together to strategize attractive packages as
alternative to those planning or planned to travel to China, this will not only
promote domestic tourism but could also cushion the negative impact from the
current situation,” said Yap.
The industry is also
anticipating forward on recovery plans when the situation subsides, and had
preliminary discussions with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC)
to recapture the market once it reopens. MAH and its member hotels are ready to
support marketing and promotion initiatives through Tourism Malaysia.
MAH is confident with the
emergency and crisis preparedness of the Malaysian government, and that
Malaysia is safe for tourists.
If you require any other
information pertaining to the hotel industry, statistics, industry concerns or
any other related subjects, please do not hesitate to contact the Chief
Executive Officer of MAH, Yap Lip Seng at firstname.lastname@example.org or +6012 280 0300.