KUALA LUMPUR: The government has been urged to consider hotels as an essential service under existing laws following Monday’s movement control order to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
Following the order, industry players fear some hotels would ask their guests to vacate as the premises would stop operating from tomorrow until March 31.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang (pic) said it would be a problem to ask foreign tourists to leave the hotel abruptly as the management had earlier welcomed them with open arms.
He said it was sufficient to bar the entry of tourists without having to repatriate those already in the country. “Guests cannot be expected to proceed to the airport and catch the next flight home as easily as commuters taking a train home after work. “If the hotels cease operations until month-end and they were needed to check out by noon today, how are they going to fend for themselves,” he said in a statement issued today adding that hotels were also needed by transient workers such as oil and gas, shipping and airline crews.
As such, Tan said another announcement should be made immediately that hotels should not be closed and no guests are rejected, as food, clothing and shelter are basic needs.
“At the point of the press release, in-house tour groups are getting panicky due to lack of clarification,” he added.
He also urged business premises providing air ticketing services to be allowed to operate with reduced manpower as the aviation industry has been considered as an essential service. — Bernama