Tourism Ministry mulling fund injection to help industry recover from Covid-19 outbreak

Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi speaks during a press conference after a Visit Malaysia 2020 event in Kuala Lumpur January 1, 2020. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi speaks during a press conference after a Visit Malaysia 2020 event in Kuala Lumpur January 1, 2020. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) will consider funding injection to help tourism players counter the impact of the Covid-19 situation that has now affected almost every part of the globe.

Its minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said Malaysia’s tourism sector is currently suffering revenue losses as a result of hotel, holiday packages and flight cancellations. 

“We are currently facing a drop in tourist arrivals, which in turn has an impact on economic revenue. Nevertheless, the ministry will make full use of the economic stimulus package to address the Covid-19 situation and assist those who need it. 

“So far, we are looking into what sort of aid can be channeled (to tourism players). It could in the form of funding. As for the quantum, we will be finding out the details,” he said when met by reporters here today. 

Earlier, Mohamaddin was awarded an honorary doctorate in Tourism Managament and Hospitality by Lincoln University College at its convocation ceremony here. 

Mohamaddin received the award from the university college’s Pro-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Bibi Florina Abdullah.

Asked whether the stimulus package will help the government achieve its goals for Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020), he replied that the ministry was not putting too much hopes on that as Covid-19 was now a global problem. 

“When faced with a global problem like this, tourists will develop a sense of fear to visit foreign countries. This could impact our tourist arrival projections for VM2020,” he said. 

The government had imposed a travel ban on visitors from several provinces in China following the Covid-19 outbreak, which was first detected in Wuhan, China in December. 

Last Friday, Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng said the economic stimulus package, to be announced by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Feb 27, was neither a new budget nor part of the policies in Budget 2020 but a form of aid to the affected industries. — Bernama

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