Matta urges govt to extend loan moratorium for tourism industry, protect sectors

Local tourists are seen at the art district of Armenian Street in George Town June 15, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Local tourists are seen at the art district of Armenian Street in George Town June 15, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has urged the government to extend the loan moratorium to a further six months for the tourism industry as the industry was one of the significant job providers and important economic contributors to the country. 

In a statement, Matta said the tour and travel industry was the hardest hit by the outbreak and studies indicated that it would recover from the current crisis much slower than other sectors of the Malaysian economy.

Moreover, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced on July 6 that the tourism industry would need four years to recover. 

“Many tourism players have been deprived of income since March 2020. Against a backdrop of recession and unemployment, being wholly dependent on domestic tourism will not be sufficient to sustain related businesses and individuals working in this industry,” said Matta president Datuk Tan Kok Liang. 

He said the industry’s inability to service their loans was due to regulatory constraints and weak demand. 

Tan also said individual borrowers working in the hospitality and tourism industry should also be given a six-month moratorium extension as many are currently on pay cuts, unpaid leave or had been retrenched.

“Many do not have the ability to repay their loans under current pressing circumstances and the rate of unemployment is rapidly increasing,” he added. 

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture had estimated the losses suffered by the tourism and culture industry amounted to some RM45 billion in tourism receipts, and about one million workers in the tourism industry in Malaysia were expected to lose their jobs this year. — Bernama

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