Apply for tourism aid to avoid layoffs
Hotel / Amin

The aid is part of govt’s effort to help struggling industry players in making sure their businesses remain viable and competitive

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

TOURISM industry players should apply for the Penjana Tourism Financing (PTF) worth RM1 billion to avoid more layoffs due to the impact of Covid-19.

Tourism, Arts and Culture minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said PTF is a part of the government’s effort to aid struggling industry players and to ensure their businesses remain viable and competitive in the new normal.

“We want to see more people be able to improve their income and the industries to keep their employees because now you can see some of them are trying to lay off their staff.

“We don’t want that to happen, that’s why Human Resources Development Fund introduced the wage subsidy programme — to make sure people still have a job,” she told reporters after a networking session with industry players on the PTF scheme yesterday.

The scheme which opened for application since July 31 offers up to RM75,000 in financing for micro-companies and up to RM300,000 for small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) with up to 3.5% interest per annum.

Since many countries impose a ban or restriction on international travel, more emphasis is being put on domestic tourism to help offset the economic downturn due to the absence of foreign contributions now.

According to Nancy, the domestic tourism industry is slowly witnessing a recovery but the occupancy rate, especially in the city, remains badly affected.

“In fact, recent data indicates that hoteliers are reporting improved occupancy rates over the past weeks in Malaysia’s historic cities of Melaka and Georgetown as well as popular resorts and beach destinations in the East coast states of Pahang and Terengganu.

“While the domestic tourism may not fill the gap to fully support the industry, it may reduce the impact on the economy as a whole,” she explained.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) expects the loss of tourists’ expenditure for the second half this year will be lesser from the estimated amount of from January to June 2020 (RM45 billion).

In 2019, domestic tourism expenditure amounted to RM103.2 billion, a rise of 11.5% from the previous year.

Motac has also identified several key strategies that will recalibrate the country’s tourism and culture industries, such as restoring confidence to travel by promoting feel-good factors and success stories in overcoming Covid-19.

Another important area is upskilling human capital by building the capacity and capability of tourism industry players.

SMEs may contact and apply to 12 participating financing institutions including SME Bank, Public Bank Bhd, Maybank Islamic Bhd and Bank Simpanan Nasional for PTF.

However, recipients of the Special Relief Facility or Penjana SME Financing are not eligible to apply for PTF.