KUALA LUMPUR: Travel agents are calling for a reduction in airport tax in a bid to boost tourism among Asean countries.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta), which is the secretary-general of the Asean Travel Association (Aseanta), said all countries in the region, which had high airport tax, should consider reducing it to promote intra-Asean travel.
Matta vice-president (outbound) Ronald Chan said Malaysia charged RM45 as airport tax for international travel, adding that it should reduce it to RM10, which is the airport tax for domestic travel.
“Now that Asean is considered a regional market, it should bring the airport tax down so that more people will travel overseas, taking advantage of the low packages offered by Asean countries.
“The Asean market is massive and more people travelling intra-Asean will be a big boost to the tourism industry in Asean as a whole,'' he told The Star.
Dhesu Travel general manager K. Sivasubramaniam said other Asean countries should also reduce the airport tax for that purpose.
“Aseanta should propose to the Asean Tourism Ministerial meeting to reduce the airport tax to stimulate tourism activities in the region.''
Paradise Travel chief executive officer Mumtaz Ali also supported the idea of bringing down the international airport tax to domestic rates, saying: “Malaysia and the Asean countries will have a lot to gain from the intra-Asean tourist traffic.”
Reliance executive director Tan Sin Chong said increased tourism activities among Asean countries would be a big boost to the economy.
Chan, who is also the organising chairman of the Matta International Travel Fair, said the fair might have sold over RM100mil in tickets and packages.
“This is a preliminary estimate. Once when we get the feedback from participants, it could be much more than RM100mil,'' he added.
The total attendance for the three-day fair was estimated at 80,000.
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