KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 17 — Despite fresh incentives announced for the tourism industry under the Pemerkasa stimulus package, the Malaysian Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) said more substantial assistance was necessary to keep the sector’s operators afloat.

While thanking Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the announced measures that include tax deferments, one-off grants, and aid payments, MyBHA pleaded with the government for more holistic and effective steps to benefit those within the industry.

MyBHA national deputy president Sri Ganesh Michiel urged for the government to quicken the lifting of interstate border travel restrictions, which he said is among the main factors currently hurting the industry.

“Efforts implemented by the federal government has to be followed through by all state governments and government agencies who can also contribute or take the initiative to give more attention to the hoteliers and those in the tourism industry, for there to be a more meaningful impact towards efforts to revitalise the hotel and tourism industry.

“The government has to be aware that the closure of state and international borders has become the factor that contributes to the absence of local tourism and the lack of hotel guests.

“Therefore, we hope the government can immediately consider and allow domestic travellers to travel interstate in hopes to revive the hotel and tourism industry,” Sri Ganesh wrote.

He also urged the government to be more sensitive and concerned about players of the hotel and tourism industry, proposing for it to come up with a specific stimulus package for them.

This after Muhyiddin announced perks such as extended tax incentives for all tourism firms until 2022, deferred income tax deductions for cinema and spa operators from April until December, and an exemption on entertainment taxes for operators of theme parks, stage performances, sporting events and competitions, and for movies played in cinemas in the Federal Territories.

The PM also announced a one-off special grant of up to RM3,000 to more than 5,000 tourism agencies who have registered with the Tourism and Culture Ministry, and an RM600 one-off payment to homestay entrepreneurs registered with the ministry.

Muhyiddin also announced an extension to the 10 per cent electricity bill discount till June 30, 2021 for hotel operators, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls and local air transport companies.