Extension of travel ban in Malaysia kills hope of tourism revival

Malaysia has extended the movement control order (MCO) for states with a high number of Covid-19 cases, namely, Selangor, Johor and Penang, as well as the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, until March 4.

This is the third extension of the MCO, which was supposed to end on February 19.

Continued ban on inter-district and interstate travel will put more hotels at risk of closures 

The 10km radius travel limit nationwide will be lifted from February 19. However, inter-district and interstate travel are still banned – a move which “will hamper any chance of survival for the tourism industry,” said Malaysian Association of Hotels CEO, Yap Lip Seng.

“The government must take immediate action to address the issue, and to listen to the stakeholders on the ground that had suffered for almost a year now, with no end in sight,” he added.

“Having lost all international business while borders are still closed, the tourism and hotel industry depend solely on domestic tourism and as long as interstate travel is still not allowed, it does not have even the slightest chance of survival.

“The industry will be forced to cut more jobs and even consider closures. The government must implement immediate measures specifically for the tourism and hotel industry.”

Yap Sook Ling, managing director of Asian Overland Tours & Travel, called on the government to provide targeted assistance for the industry, including increasing wage subsidies to RM1,200 (US$297) monthly per employee earning below RM4,000 monthly, and extending it beyond March.

Malaysia on Tuesday reported 2,720 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths, totalling 269,165 infections and 983 deaths so far.

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