KUALA NERUS, Nov 3 — The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) has allocated RM15.95 million to 14,822 tourism industry players in the country to help them weather the challenging times brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of this sum, 8,331 tour guides will each receive RM500, 3,260 tour operators and travel agencies (RM3,000 each), 171 spa and foot massage centres (RM1,000 per person) and 3,060 homestay operators (RM600 each).

Motac secretary-general Datuk Noor Zari Hamat said part of the allocation had been dispersed to recipients in stages throughout the country and the disbursement should be completed by month end.

“The financial assistance is aimed at recognising the contributions of the industry players all this while and helping them to brave the challenges due to the pandemic which began last year.

“Now, the tourism and culture industry in the country is thriving again after the government’s implementation of the domestic tourism bubble pilot project, followed by the lifting of the interstate travel ban from October 11. We are confident that the industry players’ activities and operations will also recover to pre-pandemic times.”

He said this to reporters after the presentation of RM478,400 in financial aid to 316 tourism industry players in Terengganu, with state Tourism, Culture and Digital Technology Committee chairman, Ariffin Deraman also present.

Noor Zari said the ministry had also implemented several non-financial initiatives for companies and licensed tour guides, among them, licence fee exemption and compound payment discount of 40 per cent.

“There is also an extension of the compound payment period and compound exemption for those who fail to renew their licences. All these initiatives will be extended until December 31,” he added. — Bernama