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SIBU, Nov 18: The RM600 wage subsidy to hotels for their employees under the Federal Budget 2021, is a welcome boost for the hotel industry, says Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman, Johnny Wong.
“Since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the enforcement of Movement Control Order (MCO) in March, hotels like any other tourism-related industry has been seriously impacted. The majority of hotel operators have been incurring heavy losses due to extremely low room occupancy rate,” he said.
Wong added that some operators, big and small one, had no choice but to resort to lay off workers to cut down on expenses.
“This year has been a very tough year for the hotel industry as operators are running at a lost. It is good if there is this kind of wage subsidy to the employees from the government or else hoteliers have to bear a heavy burden,” he said.
The wage subsidy, he explained will help hotels to keep afloat to a certain extent as “What is most important is for our business to get better when the Covid situation improves when the country re-open to allow outsiders to come in.”
The chairman said with travel restrictions still being enforced around the country, it is very hard for hoteliers to enjoy the pre-covid occupancy rate which at the time went up to an average of more than 40%. per cent.
Meanwhile, some bigger hotels are still using their premises as a quarantine centre for people coming to the town.
According to a spokesman of one of the hotels concerned, about one-third of their rooms have been set aside as a quarantine centre.
“As it is a quarantine centre, we cannot accept room booking for other guests,” he said. -DayakDaily