Matta suggests defer departure levy plan
Published on: Saturday, July 06, 2019
By: Nikko Fabian
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PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta ) finds it appropriate for the government to impose the departure levy for air travellers after Visit Malaysia 2020 instead of later this year if indeed necessary.

Hence, the major tourism body is making the suggestion to give sufficient time for the government to thoroughly study the pros and cons of the departure levy system to ensure that the Malaysia will not be less competitive destination in future.

Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah said the departure levy for air travellers was likely to be implemented after the haj season in September.

The levy, proposed in Budget 2019, was originally scheduled for implementation on June 1.

Its President Datuk Tan Kok Liang (pic) expressed fear that the implementation of the levy may result to negative result on the arrival of tourists and make Malaysia a less competitive destination.

“There is a need to get feedback from stakeholders on the consequences and how it intends to collect the tax amongst others,” he said adding that he also regretted that the government has yet to reach out to the stakeholders, including his association, to get their views.

“In fact, they should call for a meeting and brief the industry.

We look for a seamless collection system for the convenience of air passengers....How will the payment be made? At airports? Through the airlines? We don’t know,” he stressed.

Tan quoted statistics given by Tourism Malaysia Chairman Ahmad Shah Hussein Tambakau previously, saying that Malaysia recorded RM21.4 billion in tourism revenue in the first quarter of this year, achieving a growth of 16.9pc.

‘‘Overall, 25.8 million tourists visited Malaysia and spent RM84.1 billion last year.

“The results have placed Malaysia in 15th place among the countries with the highest number of tourist arrivals.

“Malaysia is also in 21st place in terms of revenue from tourism.”

With such huge tourism receipts, Tan said Malaysia should market itself as being a more “tourist-friendly destination” rather than collecting less than RM1 billion in departure levy.

He reiterated that it would be best to implement the departure levy in 2021, after “Visit Malaysia 2020”.

Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (Mita) President Uzaidi Udanis echoed these remarks, saying he was also in the dark as the government had failed to reach out to his body.

“I am still waiting,” he said.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) immediate past president Sam Cheah Swee said the government should remove the tourism tax if it introduces the departure levy.

“Are we going to be a country that will tax tourists in every area and every chance it gets?”

According to statistics, he said there was a drop recorded in occupancy in hotels in the first quarter of this year.

“The Tourism Minister says there is an increase in the number of tourists but our statistics show hotel occupancy is down,” he added.

Photo Source: matta.org.my


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