Kuala Lumpur, 19 August 2019 – The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) wish to thank our Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for making an incisive decision during his recent visit to AirAsia’s headquarters at Sepang.
MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang says “If departure levy is implemented on 1 September, it is expected to have a negative impact on foreign tourist arrivals. Why tax foreign tourists twice? They are now being imposed with a tourism tax of RM10 per room night. For the first five months of this year, the arrivals rose by 4.8% when 8.8% is needed to reach the 28.1 million targets for 2019. At this rate, we will end up with 26.3 million and lower if departure levy is implemented. If so, we have once again failed to achieve targeted number of tourist arrivals since 2013, for the seventh consecutive year.”
“One of the many industry concerns is the increase of airport tax and the rates unreasonably standardised across all airports in the country from 1 January 2018, regardless of their size, service level or class of travel. But such practice goes against the grain of fair pricing, which should be the cornerstone of every business or industry.”
“Immediately after equalisation of airport tax was mooted in September 2016 and departure levy plans unveiled in November 2018, MATTA has been voicing the concerns of tourism industry and travellers but had only succeeded in delaying them. But the astute statement by our Prime Minister came like a breath of fresh air, which is invigorating and giving dynamism to the tourism industry.”
“We welcome the announcement made by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the government is studying to impose a different level of charges for different airports, taking into consideration their size, cost and fare, and is also looking into the departure levy. We concur with our Prime Minister that not all passengers are the same and should not be made to pay the same airport tax. This is certainly the new government that we want, the one that listens to the people. And by deferring the departure levy, stakeholders can be properly engaged to find the most pragmatic solutions for the way ahead.”
“This is all the more crucial as there is little time left to make final preparations for Visit Malaysia next year (VM2020). It is imperative that we pull out all stops to make VM2020 a huge success. This will give a much-needed shot in the arm to our economy and bring cheers to the rakyat”, concluded Tan.
DATUK TAN KOK LIANG
Term 2019 – 2021