Six hospitality, business, and tour guide groups in Langkawi call on the government to urgently give attention to the resort island, as it is still faced with its biggest challenge in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The six associations are the Kedah and Perlis Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), the Langkawi Business Association (Niagakawi), Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (MAHO) and the Kedah and Perlis Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA).
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Langkawi, the Association of the Tour Guides of Langkawi and the ferry company Ferry Line Ventures have joined in.
Datuk, deputy chairman of the Niagakawi Alexander Isaac, said the tourism sector in Langkawi died and would impact the economy of the people heavily dependent on the arrival of tourists.
“This group represents over 8,000 workers who are directly or indirectly involved in the tourism sector. We urge the government to end the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Langkawi as the island is in a green zone.
"Currently there are no tourists, but if the government ends the CMCO in Langkawi and allows travel between green zones, the decision will definitely return the shine to the island,” he said in a media conference.
Alexander said he hoped that the government would intend to prepare a specific moratorium and to provide all Langkawi companies with immediate financial assistance to continue operating.
Eugene Dass, chairman of the MAH Kedah and Perlis, hopes that the state plans to continue offering discounts on the electricity bill to the hotel industry, since the hotels lost its revenue.
“The tourism sector, including hotels, have been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so we really require the government’s attention, if possible besides electricity bill discounts, perhaps consider continuing wage subsidies till June next year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Langkawi Chinese Chamber of Commerce Vice President Ku Chin Loon has raised concerns about 300 to 400 members of the association about announcing the 2021 cigarette and tobacco tax budget for the government on all duty-free islands starting Jan 1 next year.
“Tourists come to Langkawi because of attractive packages that are offered, and they also buy duty free items like cigarettes. If the government goes through with this decision, it means that 300 to 400 association members will be affected.
“We have just resumed business, and gotten on our feet after being affected by COVID-19, so we hope that the government reconsiders before the decision is implemented,” he said, adding that cigarettes contributes 30 to 40 per cent to an average association member’s income.
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