Despite the trying times the prevailing Covid-19 situation has afflicted on tourism businesses in Malaysia, industry stakeholders have stepped up to lend a helping hand to the needy and less fortunate in society.
Asian Trails in Kuala Lumpur, for instance, has been passing the hat to raise funds for the less fortunate since the start of the pandemic. The tour agency’s latest efforts saw it raising RM2,500 (US$589) to purchase food items to help 523 orphans, refugees and the disabled in Selangor in May.
Abu Fadzil, head of operations and customer service at Asian Trails, shared: “We are doing our part to make the lives of the less fortunate a little easier. The pandemic, which has resulted in lockdowns, has affected businesses and people’s livelihoods in a very big way. In future, we plan to provide assistance to marginalised communities living in rural areas within and beyond Selangor.
He added that the agency plans to help the indigenous people in Taman Negara once inter-district travel is allowed.
Laili Basir Event Adventure, a tour company that specialises in tours in Semporna, Sabah, is assisting 500 families in the Bajau Laut (Sea Gypsy) community in Semporna to secure basic food supplies, to save them from making a grocery trip to town and being exposed to a higher risk of Covid-19 infection.
Company founder, Laili, shared: “We get donations from NGOs as well as our previous clients who have been with us on trips to Semporna and are sympathetic to our cause.”
The staff and business associates are also volunteering their time to provide basic education to 36 street children in Semporna town, in a collaborative effort with the villages at Kg Bangau Bangau.
Independent and group hotels are also doing their part to help the needy, despite their own internal cost-cutting measures to reduce operational expenses amid the travel standstill.
Cottage by the Sea by Frangipani Langkawi is helping the less fortunate by donating fruit and vegetables grown on its 0.4ha farm. Its founder, Anthony Wong, is also collaborating with local NGOs to identify lower-income families keen to learn the ropes at organic farming from Wong and his team. Wong said: “My philosophy is not to give them a fish to eat for a day, but to teach them how to fish.”
Hotels in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur have also embarked on a number of initiatives to help ease the burden faced by the country’s most at-risk communities.
Early this year, Sunway Resort, Sunway Pyramid Hotel and Sunway Clio Hotel – assisted by the Rotary Club Malaysia and ADAB Youth Garage, a Bangi-based NPO – donated more than 200 home items such as beds and furniture, amounting to over RM10,000, to flood victims in the worst-hit districts of Pahang.
Through Sunway Group’s community initiatives and partnership with the Selangor Youth Community, items were also donated to several orphanages.
Alex Castaldi, senior general manager of Sunway City Kuala Lumpur Hotels, shared that in another of the group’s initiatives, food items were donated to around 30,000 Malaysians during the holy month of Ramadan and Hari Raya. Beneficiaries include those in the lower-income category, Covid-19 frontliners, senior citizens and their caregivers, as well as prison inmates across the Klang Valley, Penang, Perak, Johor and Kelantan.
In conjunction with World Hand Hygiene Day in May, hotels in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur also donated 1,000 handmade bars of repurposed soap to inmates at Sungai Buloh Prison.