PETALING JAYA: For the first time in 30 years, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said he found himself truly delighted by the allocation and attention towards the tourism sector.
Referring to the excise duty exemption of 50% for locally assembled vehicles for tour operators to purchase qualified new tourism vehicles, Tan said many of the existing tourism vehicles were old.
“We are losing out to our neighbouring countries. We need to provide better airport transfers and excursion experiences to visitors, ” he said.
Tan also welcomed the accelerated capital allowance for the purchase of new locally assembled excursion buses.
“This will provide operators an opportunity to replace their aging vehicles at reduced cost, ” he said.
On the bulk application of visa by travel agents through the eNTRI and eVISA systems, Tan said it would encourage arrivals of travellers and group entries.
To date, eVISA applications are available for 10 countries, including China and India.
Malaysian Association of Hotels chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said the announced initiates were in line with what the tourism sector hoped for, though there was still room for improvement.
“While visa applications are being eased through initiatives, restrictions still exist and they appear to be the main competitiveness concerns with neighbouring countries, ” he said.
The eNTRI facility is only valid for a single entry of a maximum of 15 days, with no extension allowed.
Yap also wanted to see tighter enforcement and regulations to safeguard industry stakeholders.
“The industry is plagued by illegal activities taking advantage of growing tourism and such leaks need to be plugged immediately, ” he said.Budget 2020 also allocated RM25mil to Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), up from RM20mil previously.
MHTC chief executive officer Sherene Azli said this support would go a long way in bringing Malaysia’s healthcare to new heights and providing a significant impact to the country’s economy.
Also announced is a RM1.1bil allocation to the Tourism, Culture and Arts Ministry, in which RM90mil is set aside to further promote the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.