News: Virus Outbreak: Malaysian Hotels Lost RM40m In Revenue

Feb 11, 2020

Hotels in Malaysia suffered a RM40 million loss in revenue as the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak resulted to 95,972 room cancellations, revealed the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH).

“We are tracking cancellations from our member hotels and the number is growing everyday. People are afraid to travel and that is a problem, despite the situation in Malaysia is being well under control and we remain safe for tourism,” explained MAH president Kamaruddin Baharin.

Most of the cancellations are up until the end of February, with the majority originating from China.

“There are also cancellations from local Malaysians, from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and other countries,” noted Kamaruddin.

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Hotels in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah were hit the most, with revenue loss due to cancellations totalling RM11.29 million and RM10.48 million respectively, for the period 22 January to 29 February.

MAH revealed that it has met with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, as well as key industry stakeholders, in planning for a government stimulus package for the tourism industry, reported The Edge.

“The ministers openly expressed willingness to consider the temporary suspension of certain mandatory contributions by tourism employers, as well as to introduce a personal tax relief for individual Malaysians traveling within the country in 2020,” said MAH CEO Yap Lip Seng.

For instance, the industry is seeking a reduced rate on tourism tax from RM10 to RM1 per room per night until end-2020, to boost international tourist arrivals.

Moreover, MAH sought for a personal income tax relief of up to RM1,000 per person for those staying in hotels that are registered with the tourism ministry, in order to encourage locals to travel and stay in hotels,

To counter the coronavirus’ negative effect, the association also suggested a temporary exemption of service tax for hotels, as part of the Visit Malaysia Year’s initiative.

They also sought a 10% discount on water bills for six month as well as a temporary suspension on the contribution of employers to EPF and the minimum wage order.

Lastly, MAH believes the industry could benefit from special setups such as tourism marketing fund, general banking support, recovery campaign and relief guarantee facility.


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Leon Lim
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