21 May 2022
Tourism associations have welcomed the incentives for domestic tourism the government announced recently but are asking for more to be done to accelerate the industry’s recovery.
Spokesmen for the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta), the Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association (Mita) and the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said the tourism ministry should look beyond the incentives listed under the 2022 Tourism Recovery Plan although association members were appreciative of its efforts so far.
The incentives, offered to Malaysian travellers, come in the form of discounts, vouchers and rebates.
Matta vice-president Ganneesh Ramaa said many businesses were struggling with cash flow because of poor business over the last two years and that this had made it difficult to secure loans from commercial banks.
He suggested that the government or government-related agencies provide soft loans to companies in need to help them get the ball rolling.
Mita president Uzaidi Udanis said the government should expand its efforts “beyond the typical understanding of tourism” and suggested that it consider making it easier to rent yachts and motor homes and to charter flights and cruises.
“We shouldn’t be funding just the typical tourism industry players but look at the bigger picture,” he said. “For example, the yachting industry has a lot of potential but regulations need to be minimised.”
Uzaidi said attracting “quality tourists” rather than looking for quantity would be of more benefit to the industry. He said such tourists would take better care of the environment.
MAH president N Subramaniam said there were issues that concerned hoteliers that were not addressed in the recovery plan.
Referring to guest houses, he urged the federal government to follow Penang’s lead in drawing up regulations, saying hotels were faced with “unfair competition” from these unregulated accommodation providers.
“It’s not a level playing ground. We pay taxes and follow government guidelines, but we have to compete with those who rent out their homes to vacationing guests,” he said.
He also asked for an increase and an extension of the wage subsidy for hotels and affected industries until they could stand on their own feet again. “Not forever, but for just about six months,” he said.
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