Budget 2021 to help boost tourism industry

pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Budget 2021 which will be tabled today is expected to help sustain the country’s economic development as a whole and help the tourism, arts and culture sectors in particular.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the various sectors in tourism, arts and culture are ready to be the key drivers for the country’s economic development.

“This is a huge economic chain across various segments such as accommodation, land, sea and air transports, food and beverage, travel agencies, cultural heritage assets and event management,” she said in a statement recently.

To ensure the continued growth of the sector, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) will intensify efforts to increase the use of technology and innovation in boosting the industry with the development of public data centres.

This is to assist in the marketing and promotion of products and services related to tourism, arts, culture and heritage.

In addition, tourism infrastructure facilities, outreach programmes, and upskilling and reskilling are also something that needs to be given priority by Motac.

Nancy said the ministry will also further diversify tourism products in terms of physical as well as those in the form of arts and culture.

“The ministry will enhance cooperation with all levels of government agencies and industry players to achieve the goal of making Malaysia a sustainable and culturally rich tourist destination,” she said.

She also hopes that the upcoming Budget 2021 will provide the ministry an opportunity to help the Malaysian tourism, arts and culture industries remain strong and support the country’s economic recovery in the future.

Nancy said tourism is one of the hardest-hit economic sectors and is expected to be the last to recover compared to other sectors.

On July 15, Nancy said the tourism sector was estimated to suffer losses amounting to RM45 billion in 2020 as a result of the closure of the country’s borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the total, the international tourism segment was projected to suffer losses of more than RM31 billion, while the rest was from the domestic segment.

“Based on the ministry’s statistics, from January to March this year, international tourist spending recorded a decrease of 41.5% from RM21.4 billion in 2019 to RM12.5 billion this year,” she said.

On top of that, the hotel segment also recently suffered yet another glaring decrease in occupancy and revenue rates due to the third wave of the pandemic, with losses estimated over RM3.3 billion in room revenue alone from January until June.