Economic Stimulus Package is a boost for Malaysian tourism amid Covid-19 outbreak

Several incentives in the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package could potentially help to boost local tourism amid the Covid-19 crisis. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

Local tourism stakeholders have welcomed the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package that was recently unveiled, which will help mitigate the impact to the tourism industry that has been severely affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said the domestic tourism industry is happy with the announcement.

“While it may not completely address current challenges, the commitment by the government is encouraging, ” he said.

As part of the package, the government will introduce several incentives that could potentially help to boost local tourism.

This includes a personal income tax relief of up to RM1,000 on expenditure related to domestic tourism, as well as digital vouchers for domestic tourism of up to RM100 per person for domestic flights, rail and hotel accommodations for all Malaysians.

Yap said the income tax relief is timely and would benefit Malaysians directly.

“We also welcome the RM100 digital voucher for Malaysians that would fit well with all the current promotions that local tourism stakeholders are offering, ” said Yap.

He added that the travel and hospitality sector will continue to engage with the government to ensure a sustainable tourism industry.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the personal income tax relief for domestic tourism is “fantastic to rejuvenate the local tourism industry”.

“Although Matta had requested several other measures, such as granting free visas to Indian tourists and double tax deduction for local companies for sending staff to meetings, incentive tours, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) events, to be included in the economic stimulus package, the priority now is for all to start working on recovery measures, ” said Tan.

The announcement of the stimulus package followed move by travel operators who have turned their attention towards the domestic traveller market as part of the Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) campaign, which still retains its target of 30 million tourist arrivals and RM100bil tourist receipts this year.

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