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Besides that, this pandemic also causes people to be cautious of traveling and the tourism industry will continue to suffer because most of the nations had banned their citizen to travel. In February 2020, the passenger for airline fell 14.1 percent which is considered to be the steepest fall since the terrorist attack of 9-11 (Sidhu, 2020). Large declines in passenger number caused aircraft to fly empty between airports and flight cancellations. This also will cause airlines suffering from the hedged price because most of the airlines have already purchased millions of dollars of fuels.
Then, the shops in the airport also hardly survive because the people who buy souvenir and gifts from the airport will decline rapidly as there is no foreign tourist. Moreover, tourists are the primary source of income at sights such as the famous Batu Caves limestone. Without them, street stalls are difficult to survive. This will lower the gross domestic product (GDP) rate and standard of living of Malaysia as foreign tourists are not coming to Malaysia to buy and spend which will lead to lesser export activities.
Furthermore, people need money to travel, but the ongoing pandemic situation had worsened the economy of the country. People faced business difficulties, some of them were forced to take unpaid leave, and some even became jobless. Therefore, in this situation, people will only purchase necessity goods and not thinking of going on a trip. According to appendix figure 6, it is an economic outlook of the selected country, it also shows that the gross domestic product of China had dropped to 2.
4 percent (Erken, 2020). Researchers found that China is one of the main source markets for arrivals. So, when there is a downturn in China’s economy, the number of people who visit Malaysia will be reduced and this factor will cause Malaysia’s tourism industry to face difficulties.
Lastly, the expenditure on maintaining the facilities and paying the bills is expensive while there is almost zero income for the tourist sector. For the tourist accommodation such as Airbnb, house owners have to pay for the rental fees and house cleaning fees when there is no guest coming in. Besides, there is also a huge expenditure needed by the zoo. Due to the movement order control, people do not visit the zoo. Therefore, there are difficulties to feed the animals as the zoo do not have enough fund.
In conclusion, the tourism industry had been affected by this ongoing pandemic, Covid-19, by several factors. The main reason is the people are restricted by the movement control order which leads lesser visitors to spend in the tourism industry. The decrease in spending by the foreign investors will lead to a lower gross domestic product rate and will reduce export activities. Secondly, by not allowing domestic guests to check-in, hotels are unable to pay for the employee’s wages which will cause the unemployment rate to rise. A high unemployment rate in the country might cause the standard of living to be lower, the government will lose tax revenue and more social problems. Next, the global economy had been affected by Covid-19, which means that the overall economy is in a downturn. People will spend lesser money on traveling and lesser foreign traveler will come to visit Malaysia. The last factor is the high expenditure need to afford by the tourism industry for maintenance. Some of the accommodation will decide to shut down during this pandemic, while some will collapse due to zero income.
There are some ways to help the tourism industry to get back on track. First of all, hotels can turn into quarantine centers and get subsidize by the government. By getting subsidies from the government, the hotel operator will have more funds to operate the business and pay for the employee’s salary. This will significantly reduce the rate of unemployment in the industry. Secondly, the tourism sector has to prepare tourism business for the digital future. Digital native tech-driven companies are among the biggest and fastest-growing in then tourist industry. These include renowned examples like Expedia, Skyscanner, and Booking.com. These companies have exploited weakness, which leads to better advantage to compete with traditional tourism businesses. One more example is LokaLocal, a Malaysian based company had introduced MY360 Playbook, a marketing strategy to raise awareness about local attractions while supporting companies through video advertising and branded content (Dayangku, 2020). Besides that, the government should also give discount for the electrical bills and defer tax payment to reduce the financial burden of the tourism sector. The prime minister of Malaysia has shown a good example by excluding the six percent service charge on hotels from March to August 2020 and fifteen percent discount in monthly electrical bills for all the tourism sector (Lim, 2020). At last, the zoo can ask for more sponsors from outsiders in order to cover the operation cost. An example is the national zoo of Malaysia has partnered with Ticket2U and offers an adoption package for people to donate which is to adopt an animal in the zoo.
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