Matta hopes Budget 2018 provide perks, funds to spur travel industry

GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) hopes that the 2018 Budget will continue to provide incentives and funds to spur the travel industry.

Its President, Datuk Tan Kok Liang, said among Matta's wishlist for the 2018 Budget was for the government to extend the perks for inbound tour operators to 2020 and ease terms to help new or small companies.

He said tour operators handling over 750 foreign tourists and 1,500 domestic tourists should be given tax incentives.

"We have also sought funds for capacity building in the travel sector from training apprentices to reskilling and upskilling of industry practitioners," he said in his welcoming speech at the opening of Penang Matta Fair 2017 by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng here today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who is also Finance Minister, is expected to table the 2018 Budget in Parliament on Oct 27 after taking into account the views and feedbacks from various stakeholders.

Tan said Matta has submitted its recommendations and feedback for the 2018 Budget and was hopeful that incentives and funding would be granted to spur the travel industry.

He said in order to attract more high-spending tourists, Matta has asked for a waiver of import duty for luxury tour vehicles and excise duty exemption be extended to all classes of tourism vehicles.

"There is no shortage of luxury hotels in Malaysia but our tourist transportation, especially for small groups and families is not up to par," he said.

Meanwhile, Tan said, Matta has targeted a sales turnover of RM20 million and the number of visitors to touch 18,000 during the three-day Penang Matta Fair, which starts today at the Straits Quay Convention Centre here.

"Last year, we attracted over 15,000 visitors with sales of around RM15 million while for this year with 133 booths taken up, I am optimistic we could generate higher sales," he said. — Bernama