The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) has refuted news reports that hotel bookings in Langkawi experienced a surge after the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) was announced
On Sunday, 7 June, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the implementation of the RMCO with the relaxation of many movement restrictions in the country from 10 June until 31 August.
Under the RMCO, the prime minister said that domestic tourism activities will be allowed to resume.
On the same day, according to New Straits Times, Langkawi Tourism Association (LTA) chief executive officer Zainudin Kadir claimed that there was a surge in bookings shortly after the speech.
As quoted by Astro Awani, Zainuddin said the LTA had received 1,000 bookings in an hour from 4pm until 4.45pm on Sunday.
"This is a record, all our hotels have received 1,000 bookings from domestic tourists heading to Langkawi," he added.
MAH, an association that represents a thousand hotels across Malaysia, dismissed the claim yesterday, 8 June, stating that no surge took place
In a statement shared on Facebook, MAH said the story of Langkawi hotels receiving a thousand bookings in an hour surprised the public as much as the hoteliers themselves who have since confirmed that it was falsely reported.
"The chairman for the Kedah and Perlis chapter of MAH, Eugene Dass, along with member hotels from Langkawi clarified that as much as the industry would love to see such a surge in hotel bookings, the one thousand hotel bookings did not take place," said MAH.
It added that the news caused public alarm and anxiety among hoteliers and employees, raising the question as to how flawed information could spread through reputable news outlets.
MAH also questioned the legitimacy of the tourism association itself that claims to represent tourism stakeholders in Langkawi
It said not much was known about the LTA or the source of the data it had reported.
"A quick search on the internet revealed a defunct webpage offering investment and stock exchange, banking, and business consulting services among others," MAH pointed out.
"Similarly, its Facebook page is also inactive."
MAH acting president Halim Merican said that recovery of the domestic tourism in Malaysia laid in the hands of the community, and not just the industry.
"We will overcome this phase together with facts and data to support economic growth," he said.
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