Budget 2020: Tax exemptions, incentives for tourism sector in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020

People watch a ‘live’ telecast of the tabling of Budget 2020 by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng at an eatery in Kuala Lumpur October 11, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
People watch a ‘live’ telecast of the tabling of Budget 2020 by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng at an eatery in Kuala Lumpur October 11, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — The federal government has announced several major incentives and tax breaks for the tourism sector in an effort to promote Visit Malaysia 2020 (VMY2020).

In tabling the Supply Bill (Budget) 2020 in Parliament today, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said to encourage more tourists, the government will offer tax incentives to new investments in theme parks and organisers of international cultural and sports programmes. 

“New investments in international theme park projects will be given income tax exemption of 100 per cent of statutory income or the Investment Tax Allowance of 100 per cent to be set off against 70 per cent for five years.

“Companies which support arts and cultural activities will be given tax incentives in the form of income tax exemption,” he said here.

He also said the government will increase tax deductions from RM700,000 to RM1 million annually for companies sponsoring arts, cultural and heritage activities.

In the government’s effort to target 30 million tourists in VMY2020, Lim said a total of RM1.1 billion will be allocated to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry for the purpose of promoting relevant programmes in conjunction with VMY2020.

“The government will continue to allocate 50 per cent of tourism tax to respective state governments to support their efforts in conjunction with VMY2020.

“A substantial portion of the departure levy collected will be allocated for tourism infrastructure projects,” he added.

Lim also announced a 50 per cent excise duty exemption for locally-assembled vehicles be given to tour operators for the purchase of qualified new tourism vehicles.

The Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) is also set to receive an allocation of RM5 million from the government in support of Malaysian visual art galleries and exhibition organisers in holding art exhibitions, Lim added.

Among the VMY2020 programmes, Malaysia would also be hosting Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 to solidify Malaysia’s leading position as a medical tourist destination in the region.

“Medical tourism is a rapidly expanding sector in Malaysia, growing 17 per cent annually from 2015 until 2018.

“In 2018, it generated RM1.5 billion revenue receipts from 1.2 million healthcare travellers,” Lim said.

Therefore, he said RM25 million will be allocated to the Malaysian Healthcare Tourism Council (MHTC) to strengthen the position of Malaysia as the preferred destination for health tourism in Asean for oncology, cardiology and fertility treatment.

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