KUALA LUMPUR: Eligible tourism players can now tap into the newly established Malaysia Tourism Promotion Fund (Gamelan Malaysia) to help boost the industry this year.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (pic) said the Finance Ministry was offering a matching grant amounting to RM5mil to stimulate the industry via aggressive marketing and promotion strategies.
"The matching grant is offered in the form of reimbursable financial assistance where the eligible industry players could claim up to 50% of the actual total expenditure or RM200,000 maximum allocation per project category.
"Recipients who have used up the maximum RM200,000 allocation would no longer be allowed to apply for more funds," he said after launching the Gamelan Malaysia Matching Grant Tuesday (July 9).
Among those eligible to apply for the funds include certified tourism associations, tourism agencies that were registered with the Ministry, as well as clubs promoting special interest tourism such as golf vacations and scuba diving packages.
Mohamaddin also announced that Malaysia had registered an increase in foreign tourist arrivals in the first five months of this year compared to the corresponding period last year.
"We recorded 10.95 million foreign tourist arrivals from January to May this year, compared with 10.45 million recorded last year," he said.
He added that the bulk of the foreign tourist arrivals were from Asean countries (7.5 million) compared to East and South Asian countries (2.3 million), and West Asia, Africa and Europe (1.021 million).
Mohammadin also noted a slight drop in West Asian, African and European tourists - from 1.024 million in the first five months of last year to 1.021 million during the corresponding period this year.
He attributed the drop to lack of direct long-haul flights.
"We need the support of local and foreign airline companies to help boost tourism," he said.