Police and armed forces personnel inspect vehicles going through the roadblock during the movement control order in Penang April 24, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Police and armed forces personnel inspect vehicles going through the roadblock during the movement control order in Penang April 24, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, April 27 — The Penang chapter of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang called on the state government to introduce travel incentives in a bid to revive tourism in the state once the movement control order (MCO) is lifted.

MAH Penang Chapter chairman Khoo Boo Lim said hotels suffered a lot during the MCO.

“We expect tourism to be one of the last industries to pick up so I would like to propose to the state government to provide some travel incentives for visitors so Penang will be the first choice of destination for them,” he said in a statement issued today.

He welcomed the Penang state government’s recent announcement on the suspension of hotel room fees for six months.

It has been reported that at least three hotels in Penang are facing closure with two more to be temporarily closed due to the impact of the MCO.

Jazz Hotel in Tanjung Tokong recently announced its closure while it was reported that Penaga Hotel and Jerejak Island Resort may also close.

Earlier today, Plenitude Bhd announced in a statement to Bursa Malaysia that it will temporarily cease operations of its three hotels; Mercure Penang Beach Resort and The Gurney Resort Hotel and Residences, both in Penang, and Travelodge Ipoh.

Khoo said the Kedah state government had also agreed earlier last month to waive hotel room fees for all hotels in Langkawi for six months, effective from March, to support the hotel industry.

He said MAH Melaka, Melaka Tourism Association (MTA), Malaysian Association of Tours and Travel Agents Melaka, Malaysia Hotel Budget Association Melaka, have also asked for a waiver of the heritage and tourism taxes for the period between April and December.

Khoo added that MAH Penang will support any exemptions, waivers and initiatives introduced by the state to alleviate the impact on the tourism industry in the state.

Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage state exco Yeow Soon Hin said the state is committed in waiving the hotel room fees for six months effective from when the MCO is lifted.

“The waiver is not effective from this month as the state is still monitoring the best timing to enforce it since no traveLling is allowed during this period,” he said in a statement today.

Yeoh said the state will work with all tourism players and stakeholders to revive the tourism industry in the state post Covid-19.

He said the state also welcomed feedback from tourism stakeholders in a joint effort to rebuild the tourism industry in future.

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