Regulatory burden on tour operators to be eased

MPC director-general Datuk Abdul Latif Haji Abu Seman

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) will ease regulatory burden on licensed tour operators to help them sustain their businesses during the pandemic.

MPC director-general Datuk Abdul Latif Haji Abu Seman says the regulations which fall under the purview of the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry relate to applications made between Jan 1 and Dec 31,2021 for licence renewals which will now no longer require the submission of an audited financial report.

Abdul Latif said the approval of licence renewal applications had also been standardised for a period of two or three years, as well as to allow tour operators to co-share office space for a short period of time to reduce their operating cost.

“The government hopes these regulatory changes that were made in response to stakeholder concerns raised under the #MyMudah initiative will provide licensed tour operators with the flexibility they require to continue to sustain their business through the Covid-19 crisis, ” he said in a statement yesterday.

The #MyMudah programme was launched on July 20 to enable businesses to provide feedback on how government ministries and agencies could assist businesses by eliminating or reducing unnecessary regulations which are hampering companies in their bid to revive their business.

Meanwhile, Tourism Productivity Nexus chairman Uzaidi Udanis said the relaxation of regulations would significantly ease the pressure they faced due to huge losses suffered as a direct impact of international travel bans and movement restrictions imposed both in Malaysia and abroad.

“Previously, these regulatory requirements were meant to provide an assessment of a tour operator’s business and operational ability in order to build consumer trust.

“However, since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, tour operators are now unable to generate sales due to zero-to-low demand, which in turn has affected their assets and driven the need for them to reduce costs such as office leasing, ” he said.

Uzaidi noted that in a recent survey conducted by MPC, 90% of tourism players had been significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which is an equivalent of 450,000 tourism establishments.

He added that in order to sustain their businesses, most tour operators are advised to pivot to digital platforms in providing virtual tour experiences to adapt to the new normal of a post-Covid-19 world.

“The recent announcement by the ministry on physical office space is a relief to travel agencies as well. It has given the leeway for travel agencies to lessen its overhead cost, ” he said.

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