KUALA LUMPUR, 18 JUNE 2024 – The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) extends its appreciation to the Government for seriously considering the introduction of diesel subsidies for van and tour bus operators under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC).

We acknowledge the Government's efforts in maintaining diesel subsidies for the logistics industry, which are crucial for consumer goods towards maintaining the cost of living. However, the recent announcement on the end of rationalisation of the diesel subsidy policy and the subsequent price increase of diesel has had a significant impact on van and tour bus operators and, hence, the tourism industry.

Before this price adjustment, our analysis showed that tour vans and buses consumed substantial amounts of fuel monthly, with costs now rising by 54% due to the new diesel price of RM3.35 per litre. This increase has caused a considerable financial burden on our sector, challenging our ability to maintain competitive pricing and deliver high-quality services to our tourists, both international and domestic.

Recognizing the Government’s initiative, we are submitting a formal proposal with the following recommendations to ensure a smooth transition and sustained growth in our industry:

Nigel Wong, President of MATTA, emphasized the importance of fuel subsidies in light of the upcoming Year of Visit Malaysia 2026 (VM2026) campaign. He stated, "The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) aims to attract 35.6 million foreign tourists to Malaysia. Fuel subsidies are crucial to alleviate the financial strain on operators, supporting competitiveness and ensuring the campaign's success."

MATTA is proposing an allocation of 3,000 litres quotas per month per unit vehicle diesel subsidy. This allocation would greatly assist in mitigating the financial burden caused by rising diesel prices and ensure the industry remains competitive.

Wong added, "We understand the objectives of the Madani Government and we fully support them. However, the industry needs time to adjust, given the contractual obligations that many agents have. A grace period would allow tour operators to meet these existing commitments without immediately bearing the losses from increased fuel costs."

By implementing these measures, we believe that our industry will be better equipped to continue contributing significantly to Malaysia's economy, while also ensuring that tourists receive the great experiences they expect in our beautiful country.

We trust that the Government, especially the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC), will consider our proposals to support the tourism industry during this challenging period.

Thank you.

President MATTA