Tour agents want fuel subsidy extended to tourism vehicles

KUALA LUMPUR: Travel and tour agents want the fuel subsidy to be extended to all types of licensed tourism vehicles, including tour buses.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) said the tourism industry has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many tour operators struggling to stay afloat.

Subsidies for tour buses would provide much-needed relief for these companies as domestic tourism starts to recover, it said.

“School and express buses currently receive fuel subsidies from the government. We hope the government will consider extending this to tourism vehicle operators as well.

"The tourism industry desperately needs help to remain competitive and fuel costs are a major expense for tour operators," said its president Nigel Wong.

He said with the recent increase in tourism footfall in Malaysia, tour buses or bas persiaran have become essential for facilitating travel within the country for tourists.

"By extending the fuel subsidy to include bas persiaran, tour operators can reduce operational costs, offer more competitive pricing and attract even more visitors to Malaysia as a travel destination,” he said on Thursday (May 16).

On May 5, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said no final decision had been made on when Malaysia would implement fuel subsidy cuts.

"We urge the Transport Ministry and the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to consider the integration of bus services into the subsidy framework," said Wong, whose association has over 3,000 members.

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