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Taxing time for tourism


Khoo says travel agents and hotels are in a quandary because  the additional cost for MICE groups could lead to cancellations.

Khoo says travel agents and hotels are in a quandary because the additional cost for MICE groups could lead to cancellations.

THE tourism tax could cause a major ripple in Penang’s tourism industry because it would affect MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) groups.

Penang Tourist Guides Association president Chin Poh Chin said the tax could reduce Penang’s competitiveness as a MICE travel destination.

“People have this simple notion that if tourists can afford a five-star hotel stay, they can pay an extra RM20, which is not the case.”

She said the extra cost would hit groups such as a recent one in which about 20,000 tourists from China spend three nights in Penang.

“If it is two to a room, then 10,000 five-star hotel rooms for three nights for a group this large will cost an extra RM600,000 with the tourism tax.

“This might make such groups think of other destinations like Thailand,” she said.