Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Langkawi hotels in dire straits

Sixty-eight hotels here stand to lose more than RM20mil a month following the government’s decision to cancel bookings for meetings, seminars and courses on the resort island, said Kuah assemblyman Datuk Nawawi Ahmad.

He said these hotels, which have four-star ratings and below, would stand to lose between RM300,000 and RM500,000 each.

“We hope the Government will not impose the cost-cutting measures on Langkawi and other resort islands such as Tioman and Pangkor which are heavily dependent on government programmes,” he said.

Nawawi said this in response to a Finance Ministry circular sent to hotels on June 6 informing them that bookings at all hotels had been cancelled, effective immediately.

“We appeal to the Government to review this decision as it has far-reaching implications on the livelihood of 70% of the population in Langkawi who are directly involved in the service sector.

“Some 10,000 people are working in the hotel sector and about 15,000 are in the retail business. The 700 taxi drivers will soon lose business.

“Car rental operators also risk going bust as most of the cars are still under finance,” he said, adding that there were more than 3,000 rental cars on the island.

Nawawi said that among the first to lose their jobs would be hotel workers as the hotels would be forced to retrench them.

“Even farmers and fishermen are dependent on the service sector as the bulk of their produce and catch are sold to hotels,” he said.

Nawawi appealed to the Government to consider the long-term socio-economic impact of its cost-cutting measures.

Source : STAR
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