Covid-19: 55 hotels ceased operations since March last year, says Tourism Ministry

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 4): A total of 55 hotels nationwide have closed down while 86 hotels are temporarily closed from March last year until now, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dewan Negara was told on Monday.

Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister (MOTAC) Datuk Seri Dr Santhara Kumar said the hotels were registered with the Malaysian Association of Hotel (MOH) and recognised by the ministry.

It is estimated that over 8,000 hotel industry workers were laid off during the period, he added.

"To revive tourism activities and employment in the sector, various assistance have been provided directly through the National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (PEMULIH) and Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (PEMERKASA).

"Tourism industry players were also given one-off cash assistance, the extension of discount on electricity bills until Dec 31, tourism and services tax exemption, deferment of tax instalment payments and wage subsidy schemes,” he said during the question and answer session at the Dewan Negara sitting on Monday.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Jefridin Atan on the number of hotels in the country that had ceased operations due to the Covid-19 and assistance provided by MOTAC to the tourism operators.

Meanwhile, in reply to the original question regarding initiatives taken by the ministry to revive the tourism sector, Santhara said RM30 million had been allocated for the maintenance of tourism facilities or infrastructure, with 89 projects currently implemented nationwide to date.

In addition, Santhara said that through Budget 2021, the government has allocated RM20 million to boost the infrastructure of cultural villages in Terengganu, Melaka, Sarawak, and Negeri Sembilan.

“MOTAC has always worked closely with the state governments in ensuring that tourism development is constantly improved. This is to enable it to be an attraction for tourists, thus contributing to the domestic economic growth  

“The maintenance and upgrading projects have also been implemented in key and popular focus areas to ensure the availability of tourism infrastructure at an optimal level," he said.

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