Retrenchment inevitable as local hotel industry struggles to survive Covid-19 fallout

Johnny Wong

SIBU, Aug 25: Retrenchment is inevitable within the hotel industry which has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong said today that hotels operators “could not do much” except to retrench their staff if they continue to make losses.

He said this in response to reports that a four-star rated hotel here had recently retrenched more than 30 staff due to poor business caused by the pandemic.

Other similarly rated hotels here are also badly affected, with most of them partially open for business.

“There is nothing much that the operators can do during this Covid-19 pandemic as it is also affecting the whole world. With the drastic drop in business, naturally they have to resort to laying off workers,” Wong said.

He revealed that in fact many hotels here, including budget hotels, have not been spared from the economic fallout.

“The budget hotels are half dead as not many outsiders are travelling to this town. I don’t see tourists here due to tighter control during this Recovery Movement Control Order,” he said.

According to Wong, hotels, especially budget hotels, are still receiving a limited number of guests who come from outstation such as Daro and Matu.

“They come here for a night’s stay either to buy things or visit their relatives. Such is the dependency of hotels on this type of traveler for their upkeep,” he said.

Wong added that the lack of events held by government and private sector companies, is affecting mostly bigger hotels who have a larger payroll.

“Big hotels do not only rely on room occupancy but also business from their restaurants. As there are few functions, a large portion of their earnings is lost,” he noted. — DayakDaily