Matta: Aid for tourism industry crucial during total lockdown

Pasar Seni is almost deserted as Malaysian borders remain closed to tourists, October 29, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (Matta) has urged the government to ensure measures are in place following the total lockdown beginning June 1.

Honourary treasurer, Faeez Fadhlillah said the industry and related economic activities have suffered losses of over RM100 billion in total.

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In 2020, tourist arrivals to Malaysia fell by 83.4 per cent, and consequently, tourist receipts plunged by 85.3 per cent to RM12.69 billion last year from RM86.14 billion in 2019, he said in a statement today.

Hence, the association hopes that the government can implement some initiatives to cushion the economic risks of the lockdown on the industry, including an automatic loan moratorium for travel players with zero interest, wage subsidies extension until year-end, and cancellation of the Travel & Tour Enhancement Course (TTEC).

It emphasised that industry travel agents who are highly affected by continuous Movement control order and border closure order need financial assistance and a clear tourism recovery roadmap for the eventual revival of the industry.

Faeez said this includes a proper framework, timeframe and a clear outline of the conditions under which both domestic, as well as international borders, can re-open.

“A major revamp of the tourism policies including the amendment of the Tourism Industry Act 1992 as well as the cancellation of the TTEC has to take place in line with the overall framework,” he added.

He added that Matta supports the Federation of Malaysian Business Associations’ proposal for a 70 per cent wage subsidy to be given to all staff earning less than RM4,000 and a 30 per cent subsidy (capped at RM3,000) for those who earn above RM4,000. — Bernama

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