KUALA LUMPUR, 5 DECEMBER 2022 - The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) congratulates YAB Dato' Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim as Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister and hopes, with the appointment of the new cabinet and the PM’s reform agenda, that the government will place greater emphasis in tourism as one of the key pillars of the Malaysian economy.
In a recent statement by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), the government aims to attract 15 million tourists and gain revenue of RM47.6 billion from the tourism industry in 2023. This is a significant decrease from pre-pandemic levels of 26 million tourists with RM86.1 billion in revenue in 2019.
“The forecast does not bode well as these numbers indicate that there just isn’t enough business to support the Malaysian tourism economy in 2023. There needs to be transformation; a fresh, more strategic and dynamic approach to how we are going to accelerate the recovery and growth of our tourism economy,” said MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang.
“We hope the appointment of Dato Sri Tiong King Sing as the new Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture will provide that drive and initiative. In fact MOTAC’s scope of responsibility should be widened to include infrastructure development and tourism vehicles in order to be effective otherwise it is in danger of becoming a ‘toothless tiger’ as it does not regulate anything else except for minor sectors within the tourism eco-system.”
“It is now an absolute necessity that special attention be placed on developing tourism infrastructure and products - merely focusing on promotions and marketing will not be effective if we have nothing new or of significance to offer the world. Failing which the tourism industry may not be able to move out from its current state of stagnation while our Asean neighbours continue to register healthy tourism growth.”
MATTA works proactively with the government of the day to develop and grow the Malaysian tourism industry and has played many roles which include the promotion of Malaysian tourism domestically and abroad through its MATTA Fairs and online travel platform, its many trade missions to key and emerging source markets and, most significantly, its regional and international engagements with governments and other national trade and tourism organisations.
“More importantly, other ministries need to pay more than just lip service to the idea of tourism as a major economic asset - we need the various related government agencies, most notably the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Home Affairs (Immigration) and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to align with MOTAC and to look into streamlining the regulatory processes and to re-evaluate the many restrictive and outdated policies to ensure that tourism businesses can recover and remain competitive,” added Tan.
“We are looking forward to working closely with the new Minister (MOTAC). MATTA will play its part in supporting the Ministry and we hope that there will be more active engagement with the private sector towards this shared goal,” Tan added.
MATTA is also calling on the government to consider the continuation of post-Covid tourism recovery policies, allocate more incentives and funding for industry players and to urgently look into the modernisation of the Tourism Industry Act 1992, licensing policies and outdated regulations.
“Last but not least, on behalf of MATTA, I would like to record our appreciation to Dato’ Sri Nancy Shukri for the crucial role she played in steering the industry through the Covid period and to wish her the very best in her new role,” concluded Tan.
DATUK TAN KOK LIANG, PGDK, M.A Tourism, CA (M), FCTIM, CHA