PETALING JAYA: The departure levy for outbound travellers should be incorporated in the airfare, say a travel association and travellers alike.
Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association president Uzaidi Udanis said various travel charges were already included in the airfare.
He said the passenger service charge (PSC), formerly known as the airport tax, was included in the ticket fees and collected by the airlines on behalf of the airports.
Since 2017, the PSC for all airports in the country were standardised at RM11 for domestic destinations, RM35 for Asean countries and RM73 for non-Asean countries.
Under Budget 2019, the government proposes a departure levy for outbound air travellers starting June 1 next year.
Outbound travellers to Asean countries would have to fork out RM20 while the levy is set at RM40 for countries other than Asean.
Uzaidi yesterday said that an alternative method would be to make the levy payment over the counter at the airport before departure.
“With automated processes like self check-in, it’s possible to collect the levy this way.
“So far, we haven’t gotten any details about the levy and what mechanism would be in place,” he said.
Uzaidi said that the move to impose the departure levy is reasonable as other countries had already implemented such a system.
Travel blogger Mei Mei Chu, 28, said the fee was not a huge sum compared to the departure tax imposed by countries elsewhere.
“Japan recently introduced a ‘sayonara’ tax; the UK, Australia and Singapore also have different variations of this tax.
“This departure tax is quite common worldwide and Malaysia’s rate is still quite low comparatively,” she said, adding that she hoped the sum would not be increased in the coming years.
A quick check shows that the departure levy for Japan, Australia and Singapore is set respectively at 1,000 yen (RM36), A$60 (RM180) and S$34 (RM102).
Despite the seemingly nominal sum, she said it would be an additional financial cost to families who had been saving up for a big and rare overseas trip.
“The amount will add up to quite a lot for a family of five people, for instance,” she said.
Avid traveller O.K. Yong, 54, said the levy should be included in the airfare automatically as this would be convenient for travellers in comparing prices.
She also said the levy might not be a huge burden on those who travel infrequently for leisure but it would drive up the costs for business travellers.