KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has been urged to extend the loan moratorium for the travel and tour industry.
The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) together with the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA), Bumiputera Travel and Tour Agents Association of Malaysia (Bumitra), Malaysia Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA), Malaysian Indian Tour & Travel Association (MITTA), Malaysia Inbound Chinese Association (MICA) and Persatuan Pengusaha Bas Persiaran Semenanjung Malaysia (PPBPSM) said to date, travel agents and lour operators have hardly had any business.
Hence, without any income, how are they expected to service the loans of their vehicles and businesses, said MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang.
"Domestic tourism has been reported to flourish, But domestic travellers choose lo book directly with hotels as hotels offer promotional rates that are lower than the contracted rate offered to travel agents or tour operators.
"Also, travellers choose to do self-drive instead of using tourism vehicles by travel agents or lour operators. "
He said due to the fact that everyone in the tourism industry is hungry for business, not only the hotels have gone directly to the consumers; airlines and attraction operators too have joined the fray.
"They, too, have offered packages and ignored the fact that license imposed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) is required."
"Likewise, outbound tour operators and travel agencies are equally hard hit with hundreds of millions tied up in airline and hotel bookings that they have made on behalf of their clients."
Tan said several tourism companies have appealed for the extension on the loan moratorium and bank assistance with the banks, but all of this was futile.
"According to the banks, the loan moratorium extension is only accessible on an individual basis and not for companies. Banks are only providing a rescheduling procedure to support businesses and impose a certain interest rate depending on the situation. "
"The rescheduling of the loan repayment is not a viable option for many tourism companies. How do the banks expect business owners especially (our, operators to pay the interest fee that is charged upon the rescheduling of the loans if they are struggling with zero income in their businesses and have not had any earnings for the past 6 months and probably in the next several months too?"
Tan said with the recent Travel Advisory on Entry Restrictions, more countries have been added to the list. Most of the major contributors (countries) for inbound arrival into Malaysia were on that list.
"The hope for travel bubbles with some of these countries to boost the restart of tourism has now been dashed .
"The industry can expect a further prolongation of the situation and will not be surprised that recovery can only happen in the second (2nd ) quarter of 2021 as mentioned by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and was reported in the media recently."
"The Government needs to assist us urgently by extending the loan moratorium for at least another six months due to the dire situation as mentioned above.
"Failing which, will lead to a situation where most of us will be forced to shut down our businesses or may end up in bankruptcy.
"This situation will add on to the unemployment and retrenchment of the tourism workforce. "
Tan said the travel and tour industry is among the most critical industry that has been the hardest hit mostly due to the relentless border restrictions.
"The industry is now in a grievous state and we are in dire need of all the help we can get."
"We urge the Government to exercise its moral responsibility and reassess the situation in assisting and providing further extension on the loan moratorium for the tourism industry, particularly the travel and tour sector," Tan said.