The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (Matta) has urged the government to ensure financial aids such as zero interest loan moratorium until year end as well as clear strategic plans for the tourism sector’s recovery following the Phase 1 of a “total lockdown” beginning June 1.
“Tourist arrivals to Malaysia fell by 83.4% in 2020 with Malaysia’s tourist receipts also plunging by 85.3% from RM86.14bil in 2019 to RM12.69bil last year. Most of the tourists, or 4.23 million in 2020, arrived before the borders were shut on March 18. The industry and related economic activities have suffered losses of over RM100 billion in total”, said Faeez Fadhlillah, Honourary Treasurer of Matta.
“Matta is calling for the government to implement five initiatives to cushion the economic risks of the lockdown, mainly, an automatic loan moratorium for travel players, wage subsidies extension until the of the year, cancellation of the Travel & Tour Enhancment Course (TTEC), financial assistance for travel agents that are highly affected by the continuous movement control order and closure of state and international borders as well as a clear tourism recovery roadmap for the eventual revival of the industry that supports more than a quarter of the total workforce”, he added.
Matta is urging for the loan moratorium with zero interest until Dec 31 together with the extension of the wage subsidies program. It said it is supporting the proposal made by the Federation of Malaysian Business Associations (FMBA) where a 70% wage subsidy is given for all staff earning less than RM4,000 and a 30% subsidy (capped at RM3,000) for those who earn above RM4,000.
“Matta is calling for the government to come up with a tourism recovery roadmap together with the private sector as there is a desperate need for the travel industry to plan and strategize for the future of the travel industry. This includes a clear framework and timeframe when both domestic, as well as international borders, can re-open, one that clearly outlines the conditions under which our borders can begin to re-open. A major revamp of the tourism policies including the amendment of the Tourism Industry Act 1992 as well as the cancellation of the TTEC has to take place in line with the overall framework”, he added further.
The association and the travel industry, he said, have always supported the government throughout the pandemic and it is time the government does that same to save this dying industry that employs millions.
“The key to managing this crisis lies with proper coordination between the government and the private sector to ensure we can get through this with the most minimal impact and painless as possible”, he concluded.