Travel agencies’ tour fees soar post-rationalisation

JOHOR BARU: Holidaymakers from Johor embarking on journeys from Kuala Lumpur will have to fork out more when they book their next trip with a travel agency.

Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA) Johor chapter chairman Edwin Tay said travel agencies have increased their prices by 10% after tour bus operators were excluded from the government’s diesel subsidy programme.

“Now that the price of diesel has been floated, the cost of transporting travellers from Johor Baru to KL International Airport (KLIA) in a tour bus will increase by RM250 per trip.

“This has also resulted in the overall tour fee going up by about 10%, which will be borne by the customer,” he said in response to the increase in operating costs due to the rationalisation of diesel subsidies and the exclusion of tour buses from the government’s subsidy programme.

The journey from Johor Baru to KLIA is about 320km by land.

Tay said most travel agencies under MCTA have asked their customers, who have already paid for their travel packages, to top up the increase in travel expenses.

“Those who have yet to finalise their travel plans and packages will be receiving a new quotation from their tour operators.”

On Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s statement that there is no subsidy for the tourism sector as the buses are for tourism purposes and not for daily use, Tay said the matter should be reconsidered as tour buses do not only carry foreign tourists.

“I think this is an unfair remark as tour buses are often used to carry passengers such as students on their field trips and factory workers or employees on company trips, as well as participants of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.

“The tourism industry should not be sidelined and should be included in the government’s diesel subsidy programme.”

On June 11, Loke said there might be a slight increase in costs for tourists as there is no diesel subsidy for the tourism sector. However, he thinks that it would be acceptable for them.

At a press conference on June 13, Loke said the possible diesel subsidies for tour bus operators would be handled by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to help industry players transition to the removal of diesel subsidies.

The Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association had also appealed to the government to consider expanding diesel subsidies to tour bus operators, citing the dramatic increase in operating costs.

The government announced that the price of diesel will be floated and retailed at RM3.35 per litre in the peninsula starting June 10, compared with the previous price of RM2.15 per litre.

Under the current targeted diesel subsidy programme, 33 types of vehicles ranging from public transport to goods transportation can continue enjoying subsidised diesel through the use of fleet cards via the Subsidised Diesel Regulation System Pilot Project.'

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Tour Buses , MCTA , Holidays , Diesel Subsidy


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