Kuala Lumpur, 13 July 2020 – The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) urges the Government to extend the loan moratorium to a further six months for the tourism industry, in recognition that the industry is one of the significant job providers and important economy contributors to the country. The tour and travel industry is the hardest hit by the recent outbreak and studies indicate that it will only recover from the current crisis much slower than other sectors of the Malaysian economy.
It will be an uphill task to retune the industry if tourism companies are wounded up and tourism workers are being driven into bankruptcy by early 2021.
MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang explains, “The Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on 6 July 2020 has announced that the tourism industry will need four years to recover. Many tourism players have been deprived of income since March 2020. Against a backdrop of recession and unemployment, being wholly dependent on domestic tourism will not be sufficient to sustain related businesses and individuals working in this industry.”
“The industry's inability to service their loans are due to regulatory constraints and weak demand. As many tourism businesses derive a large portion of their earnings from international tourists, how are they to survive if borders stay closed? With no firm direction from the Government on the easing of borders, it is only appropriate to request that the Government to initiate and order an extension of the moratorium rather than industry players seeking an extension to their respective banks on their own which will likely be turned down especially after the Prime Minister made an announcement that the industry could take four years to recover.”
“Individual borrowers working in the hospitality and tourism industry should also be given a six-month moratorium extension as many are currently on pay cuts, unpaid leave or have been retrenched. Many do not have the ability to repay their loans under current pressing circumstances and the rate of unemployment is rapidly increasing."
“The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has estimated the losses suffered by the tourism and culture industry amounting to some RM45 billion in tourism receipts and about one million workers in the tourism industry in Malaysia are expected to lose their jobs this year.”
“The tourism industry's collective inability to service its debts is due to external forces beyond its control. In this instance, the industry urges the Government to take proactive actions to intervene rather than leave the decision to the various private banking institutions who will make decisions based on their terms of industry risk assessment and maximise shareholders wealth.”
“To effectively revive the tourism industry specifically towards the domestic segment, MATTA is doubling its effort to push for packages with attractive rates to cater to the new travelling environment with safe and yet enjoyable new experience. The biggest challenge for travel agents in domestic tourism is that Malaysian travellers often opt to 'go on their own' not realising that a personalised travel experience tailored by travel agents often result in time savings, convenience and peace of mind as licensed tour operators are always 24/7 ready for their client during their tour stay.”
“We are thankful for the loan repayment moratorium granted by the financial institution since April 2020 as it is significant to keep the industry afloat. We are committed to bring the tourism industry become great again and we surely hope that the extension of six months will further assist more tourism players to weather through the challenges.”
“The Government, together with Bank Negara Malaysia, must step in. It is hoped that the Government and relevant bodies will make it a priority and look into these crucial requests to assure progress in the recovery of Malaysia's travel and tourism industry,” Tan concluded.