Not so breezy for hotel industry

Lyna Mohamad

The global effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions to minimise the spread of the infection have led to heavy losses in the tourism and travel industry.

President of Brunei Association of Hotels and Mulia Hotel Operations Director Mohd Iswandi bin Maaruf said, “We have never seen anything quite like this. The effects are devastating to industries that support tourism, hotels and small and medium-sized businesses.”

He said hotel room revenue has dropped to minus 41 per cent (January-April 2020), while revenue on food and beverage has dropped to minus 61 per cent (January-April 2020) due to a complete lack of wedding functions, meetings, incentives, conference and events and so on.

Since February, hotel employees in Brunei Darussalam have undergone a 35 per cent salary cut, while some are on a 50 per cent salary cut.

To assist affected businesses, the Brunei Government introduced several stimulus packages such as a fiscal stimulus on a 25 per cent subsidy for salary payment, a Employees Trust Fund (TAP) deferred payment, and a 15 per cent discount on electric and water bills

President of Brunei Association of Hotels and Mulia Hotel Operations Director Mohd Iswandi bin Maaruf. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMAD

“In the hotel industry, hotels have always been about cleanliness. But now, it’s going to be about clean with a double exclamation point,” said Mohd Iswandi.

“Electrostatic spraying technology can also be introduced in the future, which uses the highest classification of disinfectants.

“These sprayers rapidly clean and disinfect entire areas and can be used in a hotel setting to clean and disinfect guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas. Additionally, it would be good to have ultraviolet light technology in the sanitising of keys for guests and devices.”

He also praised frontliners, “especially those in the health services, military, police, Fire and Rescue, Immigration and National Registration, the National Disaster Management Centre and other agencies, for the dedication in answering the call of duty in managing and controlling the situation.

“What I saw during this pandemic is that coordination, collaboration and partnership are key to our success in controlling the spread of the infection.”