MATTA: Thanks but hope for more

KUALA LUMPUR, 27 February 2023: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) thanks the government for what it sees as a progressive budget and for the MYR250 million allocations, but the association had hoped for more.

The powerful national travel agency association continues calling for a “more tourism-friendly budget” with better incentives and funding specifically designed to help industry stakeholders face global uncertainty and lower global economic growth and inflationary pressures.

MATTA also expressed concern that the funding of MYR250 million for Visit Malaysia Year 2025 (VMY2025) was inadequate considering the government’s target of achieving 23.5 million tourist arrivals and tourism receipts of MYR76.8 billion.

“Funding for VMY2014 was MYR358 million back when the USD exchange rate was 3.3 to the Malaysian Ringgit compared to the current 4.43. This simply means that costs have increased significantly, and a bigger budget is needed,” said MATTA President Tan Kok Liang.

During VMY 2014, Malaysia recorded 27.44 million tourist arrivals.

“It is also crucial to cushion the gap between now and 2025. To sustain tourism operations, we hope that further stimuli will be introduced along the way so that industry stakeholders can effectively do their part to meet our national tourism targets.”

The budget proposals made by MATTA included the following:

  • Double deductions for corporate companies to hold incentive trips and business events in Malaysia and attractive tax relief for individuals to encourage them to travel domestically for holidays.
  • Excise duty exemption of locally produced vehicles to help stakeholders replenish and upgrade tourism vehicle fleets to cater to the expected increase in inbound traffic.
  • A special Tourism Recovery & Growth Fund to help industry stakeholders rebuild and upgrade their service infrastructure to meet an expected rise in traffic from high-yield market segments.

“The budget may need improvements with special emphasis and incentives on tourism products and infrastructure to ensure that the Malaysian tourism industry retains its cutting edge in the long term,” he added.

“We look forward to engaging with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture on the mechanisms of the matching grant, which is much needed to help tourism operators with overseas promotions. The distribution of the grants needs to be done quickly, efficiently and effectively so that we do not miss any windows of opportunity,” concluded Tan.