Kuala Lumpur, 30 January 2021 – The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) welcomes the timely and constructive inputs made by the former Director General of Tourism Malaysia Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.
MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said, “It is a known fact that the tourism growth in ASEAN countries were so much higher whereas international arrivals for Malaysia were on the decline since 2014. To set the record straight (in response to Datuk Seri Mirza's proposal), the past Presidents of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) and MATTA were ‘kicked out’ from the Tourism Malaysia Board for voicing out the industry’s opinion before the implementation of the Tourism Tax in 2017. Both the national associations have had no representation since then.”
“Sadly, the days of "the Government knows best" still exists. Interestingly, the 143 page National Tourism Policy (NTP) 2020 to 2030 recently launched on 23 December 2020 did not address travel challenges under the new norm nor provide any roadmap or a framework for the next 3 years to revitalise the tourism industry post COVID-19. Domestic travel was also not mentioned in the NTP which is crucial for tourism recovery due to the pandemic. There was no formal and exhaustive consultation with key industry leaders like MATTA in the creation of the NTP.”
“For a start, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) should focus on its core function which is regulatory, licensing, enforcement and policy changes and should not “meddle” with the functions of Tourism Malaysia which mainly highlight destination promotions and marketing.”
“COVID-19 has exposed fundamental cracks in the outdated Tourism Industry Act 1992 which needs urgent modernisation. Furthermore, the lack of enforcement, a problem that has not improved regardless of the government of the day, has allowed our industry to sicken and weaken - further reducing our capacity to compete regionally and to improve our services and product. Apparently the law allows the government to act on licensed stakeholders whilst unlicensed hotels and operators are allowed to flourish - one is forced to question the fundamentals underlying our laws and regulations if it does not protect and nurture those who abide by them?”
“MATTA with its vast network as a member association of The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA), World Tourism Alliance (WTA), The ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) and Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations (FATA) is ever ready to assist the Government’s tourism recovery efforts and advise on structural changes needed both in the public and private sector - but the impetus of change lies in the hands of the government,” Tan concluded.
DATUK TAN KOK LIANG
Term 2019 – 2021
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