The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has lauded Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for recognising the potential of tourism to generate revenue for the country.
MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok LIang said the association is delighted that 2020 has been declared as the next Visit Malaysia Year and that a target of 36mill visitors has been set with a view to bringing in at least RM168bill in tourism receipts by 2020.
"Major events, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) will also be held in conjunction with VMY 2020.”
“MATTA had proposed funding for capacity building in the travel sector and RM2bil was allocated to SMEs for training programmes, grants and soft loans under SME Corp. The allocation of RM500 million on infrastructure development will strengthen rural tourism and homestay, including eco-tourism facilities like jetties, toilets and signage."
He also said that that MATTA had also asked that incentives currently given to inbound and domestic tour operators be continued and conditions eased to help new and small players.
“With eVisa regional hub expansion, Malaysia is certain to attract more visitors from countries with access to this facility. The upgrading of international airports in Penang and Langkawi, and domestic airports at Kota Bharu, Mukah and Sandakan will ensure greater comfort and convenience to air travellers.”
“With the completion of the West Coast Expressway linking Banting to Taiping and making Lumut within 90 minutes of Kuala Lumpur, Pangkor's tourism is set for expansion and will now boom with duty free status like Langkawi and Labuan. But developments must be properly planned and controlled, and pristine parts of the island maintained for tourism to be sustainable, as the island is much smaller than Langkawi or Penang. It is a haven for ecotourism,” he added.