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Tourism industry seeks lower tax, training incentives from stimulus package

Tourism industry seeks lower tax, training incentives from stimulus package

The proposal was requested by local industry players to counteract the impact of Covid-19 outbreak which has affected them

By S BIRRUNTHA / Pic By RAZAK GHAZALI

TOURISM industry players are proposing for lower tourism tax rates and the introduction of training incentives to be implemented in the economic stimulus package which will be announced on Feb 27.

The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) secretary general Datuk Dr Noor Zari Hamat said the proposal was requested by local industry players to counteract the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak which has affected them.

He added that similar proposals had been forwarded to the Finance Ministry for proper study and consideration.

“Earlier, we met with the Finance Minister and brought the requests of the industry players. Many things were raised during the meeting. Among them, they propose that the RM10 tourism tax should be reduced at a reasonable rate.

“They have also recommended introducing appropriate training to improve their skills especially during this current situation. We have sent the proposal to Human Resource Development Fund to provide training to industry players who may be affected by Covid-19,” he said after the launch of the VM2020 (Visit Malaysia 2020)Aircraft Livery and the Best of Langkawi Discovery Firefly Packages at Skypark RAC Subang yesterday.

Also present were Tourism Malaysia DG Datuk Musa Yusof, state Youth and Sports, Tourism, Arts and Culture, and entrepreneurship development committee chairman Mohd Asmirul Anuar Aris and Firefly Sdn Bhd CEO Philip See.

Noor Zari added that along with focusing on domestic tourism, the ministry is currently working to attract tourists from several Asean countries.

“Last year, over 65% of tourists came from Asean. We will intensify our promotion in neighbouring countries, while identifying new targets from the Middle East and India. “From 2018 to last year, the trend of Indian tourist arrivals to Malaysia saw a 20% increase,” he said.

Meanwhile, Firefly and Tourism Malaysia have partnered to showcase the VM2020 logo on all aircraft exteriors and various states’ tourism products in the interior overhead compartments and meal tray of several aircrafts.

The artwork and showcasing of the logo are expected to provide visibility of VM2020 and promote Malaysia to domestic and Asean markets.

Together with that, Firefly has also offered a 30% discount to Langkawi for all travellers to enjoy exciting packages.

See said the airline will be offering vacation packages for as low as RM211, which includes tickets, hotels and destination bookings in Langkawi.

“The bookings can be made from Feb 17 to March 13, while the travel period is up until June 30.

“We are confident that this offer will increase the number of tourists throughout Malaysia and for those who want to enjoy more discounts they can download the Firefly mobile app,” he said.

Speaking on the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on Firefly operations, See said the impact is different depending on the route.

“The corporate segment was a bit affected, but customers from other segments are still coming in and we hope that each package offered by Firefly will attract more tourists and boost the country’s tourism industry,” he added.

Through Firefly’s promotional package, Motac is aiming for a 20% increase in passengers using the service via the Subang to Langkawi route.

More packages are expected to be rolled out soon to other Firefly domestic destinations like Penang, Johor Baru, Kuantan, Kota Baru, Alor Setar, Kuala Terengganu and Subang throughout the year.