For the tourism sector, the upcoming Budget 2021 doesn’t offer much space

Published on : Tuesday, November 10, 2020

For the tourism sector, the upcoming Budget 2021 doesn’t have much space to introduce schemes and plans in the middle of the debilitating Covid-19.


Datuk Tan Kok Liang, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) President, explained that the association is not quite happy as the much waited budget couldn’t succeed in offering effective relief programs that could protect the sector as well as jobs which is in need of some solution on its road to recovery.


To quote him, “Given the vulnerable and fragile situation of the tourism industry, Budget 2021 does not take into consideration the welfare of 3.6 million workers in the field and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) tourism companies.”


“Travel demands will continue to diminish with the ongoing travel restrictions until a vaccine is widely made available.”


He further added by saying that the budget didn’t succeed in meeting the needs of the enterprises in tourism, mainly the SMEs, and does not address the key issue of job protection.


“The Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP) should have been enhanced to avoid continuing lay-offs and the loan moratorium should be extended up to June 2021 for tourism businesses,” he added.


He also mentioned that the budget doesn’t feature any incentive that would boost up domestic tourism and appears insufficient to make tourism powerful during these tough times.


Tan explained that the RM50 million distributions for maintenance and renovation of tourism facilities is not enough to get tourism products better.
“The future outlook for the next 12 months is bleak and without the right support, we will inevitably see the industry contracting quickly and drastically.


“The Budget 2021 has not managed to address the industry’s fundamental needs and we urge the government to reassess the support for the tourism industry, in order to harness the potential of the industry to generate jobs and growth, and continue to contribute to the economy,” he said.


Similar thoughts were highlighted by Yap Lip Seng, the Malaysian Association of Hotels CEO, who said that the tourism and hotel industry are truly thoughtful with the dearth in immediate assistance to stakeholders forced under the heavy burden of cash flow due to travel restrictions both international and domestic.


“Overall, Malaysia’s hotel occupancy fell to an unprecedented low in March at approximately 5% when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented, but slowly picked up and peaked over the National Day weekend at 42%, at a compromise of room rates.”

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