Penang – The Malaysian State has waived hotel fees until 31 December
2020, following earlier industry support measures that included waiving
the 6% Sales and Service Tax (SST), and exemptions on Tourism Tax for
non-Malaysians until 30 June 2021, as well as Local Council Tax
exemption of RM3 (US$0.71) until 31 December 2020.
Expressing support for the six-month hotel fee waiver, Alison Fraser,
GM of the iconic Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel, said hoteliers
would also welcome “partial subsidisation of flight tickets or hotel
stay charges to key markets by the government once our international
borders reopen in order to entice more visitors [here]”.
Due to a Movement Control Order set by the Malaysian government on a
country-wide level, Penang’s hotels were temporarily closed from
mid-March to mid-June. Due to the tourism slump, more than a few hotels
have ceased operations during the lockdown period as well.
E&O Penang, whose business used to comprise a 50:50 mix of
business and leisure guests in pre-pandemic days, saw this figure drop
to 20:80 in the past four months since March.
“We received feedback from our corporate clients and event planners
that a majority of corporations are still not permitting off-site
meetings and gatherings for the time being. [Although] some companies
have started to permit interstate business travel, [others] still advise
against travel in general,” said Ms Fraser.
For the month of July — although international borders are still
closed — the lifting of the Movement Control Order saw E&O host a
series of small meetings, talks and training sessions, as well as a few
social dining events.
Enquiries are also coming in for Parkroyal Penang Resort, mostly from
domestic corporate groups and “the Malaysian Government who has
encouraged all government sectors to host their meetings as a support to
the hospitality industry,” said Gino Tan, Vice-President, Operations,
Pan Pacific Hotels Group.
“Penang and Langkawi are now at the top of everyone's list as the
preferred destinations in Malaysia, [not forgetting the] other efforts
in place such as attractive packages to help local tourist attractions
and the launch of domestic tourism 'Cuti-Cuti Malaysia' recovery plan,”
said John Primmer, GM, Hard Rock Penang.