A total of 55 hotels nationwide closed down while 86 hotels have been temporarily closed from March last year until now due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dewan Negara was told today.
Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Santhara Kumar said the hotels were registered with the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MOH) and recognised by the ministry.
It is estimated that over 8,000 hotel industry workers were laid off during the period, he added.
“To revive tourism activities and employment in the sector, various forms of assistance have been provided directly through the National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (Pemulih) and Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (Pemerkasa).
“Tourism industry players were also given one-off cash assistance, an extension of discount on electricity bills until Dec 31, tourism and services tax exemption, deferment of tax instalment payments and wage subsidy schemes,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Negara sitting today.
He was responding to a supplementary question from Jefridin Atan on the number of hotels in the country that had ceased operations due to Covid-19 and the assistance provided by the ministry to the tourism operators.
In reply to the original question regarding initiatives taken by the ministry to revive the tourism sector, Santhara said RM30 million had been allocated for the maintenance of tourism facilities or infrastructure, with 89 projects currently implemented nationwide.
Santhara said that through Budget 2021, the government had also allocated RM20 million to boost the infrastructure of cultural villages in Terengganu, Melaka, Sarawak, and Negeri Sembilan.
“The ministry has always worked closely with state governments in ensuring that tourism development is constantly improved. This is to enable it to be an attraction for tourists, thus contributing to the domestic economic growth
“Maintenance and upgrading projects have also been implemented in key and popular focus areas to ensure the availability of tourism infrastructure at an optimal level,” he said.