KUALA LUMPUR, 25 February 2023 – The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) expressed its appreciation to the government for what it sees as a progressive budget and for the RM 250 million allocation.
MATTA had hoped however for a more tourism-friendly budget with better incentives and funding specifically designed to help industry stakeholders in the face of global uncertainty, lower global economic growth and inflationary pressures.
The association also expressed concern that the funding of RM 250 million for Visit Malaysia Year 2025 (VMY 2025) appeared inadequate considering the government’s target of achieving 23.5 million tourism arrivals and tourism receipts of RM 76.8 billion.
“Funding for VMY 2014 was RM 358 million back when the USD exchange rate was 3.3 to the Malaysian Ringgit compared to the current 4.43. What this simply means is that costs have gone up significantly and a bigger budget is needed,” said MATTA President Tan Kok Liang.
During VMY 2014 Malaysia recorded 27.44 million tourist arrivals.
“It is also crucial to cushion the gap between now and 2025. In order to sustain tourism operations we hope that further stimuli will be introduced along the way so that industry stakeholders can effectively do their part to meet our national tourism targets.”
The budget proposals made by MATTA included the following:
• Double deductions for corporate companies to hold incentive trips and business events in Malaysia and attractive tax relief for individuals to encourage them to travel domestically for holidays.
• Excise duty exemption of locally produced vehicles in order to help stakeholders replenish and upgrade tourism vehicle fleets to cater to the expected increase in inbound traffic.
• A special Tourism Recovery & Growth Fund to help industry stakeholders rebuild and upgrade its service infrastructure in order to meet an expected rise in traffic from high-yield market segments.
“The budget may need improvements with special emphasis and incentives on tourism products and infrastructure to ensure that the Malaysian tourism industry retains its cutting edge in the long term,” he added.
“We look forward to engage with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture on the mechanisms of the matching grant which is much needed to help tourism operators with overseas promotions. The distribution of the grants need to be done quickly, efficiently and effectively so that we do not miss any window of opportunity,” concluded Tan.
DATUK TAN KOK LIANG PGDK, M.A Tourism, CA (M), FCTIM, CHA
President MATTA Term 2021-2023