Langkawi hotel bookings drop following interstate travel restrictions

Businesses and residents in Langkawi impacted by Malaysia’s movement control order (MCO)

Eagle Square at Kuah, Langkawi, Malaysia. Mikadun/Shutterstock

Touristy destination, Langkawi or the Jewel of Kedah, experienced a 60 percent plunge in hotel bookings after the government’s reimplementation of the movement control order (MCO), blocking interstate travel across the country, as stated by Malay Mail.

Zainuddin Kadir, Langkawi Tourism Association chief executive, reported that 100 percent of hotel reservations have been cancelled, including next month’s peak Chinese New Year holiday, despite the MCO expecting to last only until January 26, 2021.

Kadir mentioned, “tourists do not want to take the risk when there is an MCO, or CMCO, or RMCO, especially not knowing when the order will come to an end, so bookings made for the Chinese New Year have all been cancelled.”

“The undeniable fact is that a majority of the domestic tourists in Langkawi right now are from the six states that were put under the MCO,” Kadir added.

Last Monday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the latest round of the movement restrictions. The biggest constraints ban all non-essential movement and businesses from operating on states with the highest daily COVID-19 cases, which include Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya, Penang, Johor, and Labuan.

Pahang, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu, and Kelantan are the six other states that have been placed under conditional MCO or CMCO, a slightly lenient order.

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According to Kadir, the tourism industry is expected to lose around MYR120 million (USD29.6 million) from the latest announcement of restrictions.

“It cannot be denied that Langkawi became the main attraction when interstate travel bans were lifted; in December alone, we received around 256,000 domestic tourists.

The effects of the enforcement will not only affect hoteliers and resorts, but also the car rental services, restaurants, taxis, and even ferry operators,” he said.

Relevant agencies and associations, as well as the Langkawi Development Board, will enter discussions with Langkawi Tourism Association to form a task force that will assemble solutions to beat the ‘gloom’ of tourists in Langkawi throughout the MCO stages.

Kadir added, “we are aware the enforcement (of the MCO) is unavoidable for the sake of combating the spread of COVID-19, but attention should be given to the people of Langkawi to prosper.”