MATTA submits Budget Wish List to Spur Industry

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has submitted proposals to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in an effort to spur the industry to greater heights.

Its president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said a wish list was submitted to Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, that included incentives and funding from the Government to expand its services to serve the tourism industry.

“Our proposals include extending the incentives granted for inbound tour operators to 2020, and easing conditions to help new or small companies, many of them bumiputra operators.

“Tour operators handling more than 750 foreign tourists and 1,500 domestic tourists should get tax incentives.

“We are also seeking funding for capacity building in the travel sector, from training apprentices to reskilling and upskilling of current practitioners.

“The aim is to raise professionalism, using the Malaysian skills certificate and diploma as the standard for formal recognition of industry players,” he said in a press statement on Saturday.

“In order to compete effectively online, incentives are needed for online marketing and promotions, and double deductions allowed for e-commerce websites for inbound operators.

“This will allow our country to earn and retain more foreign exchange, and collect more taxes from local companies,” he said.

He added that to attract more high-spending tourists, MATTA is seeking a waiver on import duty for luxury tour vehicles and that excise duty exemption be extended to all classes of tourism vehicles.

Read more at The Star


Levy Leeway for Tour Operators

PETALING JAYA: Travel operators who secured hotel bookings for foreign tourists before the implementation of the tourism tax will be exempted from paying the levy, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Nazri said these travel operators will not have to cover the cost of the tax which was not included in booking agreements.

“But from March 2018, they will have to charge the RM10 tourism tax. It is compulsory,” he said after launching Malaysia Business Events Week 2017.

The tourism tax, which came into effect on Sept 1, imposed a RM10 flat rate per room per night on foreign tourists boarding at hotels, inns, rest houses and motels.

Nazri said the tax was a necessary burden to ensure the well-being of the tourism sector against the backdrop of allocation cutbacks.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang had expressed concerns its members would have to absorb the tourism tax as it was not included in booking agreements for next year.

“Many of our members have contracts with local hotels and overseas tour operators for hotel rooms until March 31, 2018 without the tourism tax,” said Tan in a statement last week.

He added that many MATTA members were affected in various degrees with the implementation of the tourism tax and a survey is under way to gather their feedback.

Tan said an industry-wide report on the impact of the new tax would be handed over to the Government after the results of the survey were collated so action could be taken to help MATTA members.

“We are of the view that the intention of the tax was meant to eventually benefit all stakeholders and those initially affected by its introduction should be assisted by the Government,” he added. 

Read more at The Star


Why Travel Fairs Remain Popular

TRAVEL has become a lot easier for Malaysians as it is just a few clicks away, thanks to digital advances.

However, most people still prefer going to physical fairs and talking to travel consultants who can make holiday recommendations and propose planned itineraries as booking online would need travellers to organise every detail themselves.

The steady turnout of visitors at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair is testament to the popularity of such events.

MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the twice-yearly fair had established itself as a one-stop platform for value-for-money travel packages which appeal not only to Malaysians, but also expatriates in the country.

“Purchasing through licensed operators physically also gives travellers the flexibility to negotiate as well as manage travelling matters such as cancellations with the assistance of travel consultants.

“The just-ended MATTA September 2017 is expected to attract 120,000 visitors and achieve RM220mil in sales,” said Tan.

He added that the tourism industry in Malaysia was still thriving, despite the fluctuating ringgit.

“People still travel for business or leisure, be it domestic or international.

“Foreign arrivals into the country has increased, particularly from China with a growth of 7.8% this year from January to May compared to last year of the same period.

“According to the Statistics Department, the number of domestic tourists grew by 7% to 189.3 million last year compared to 176.9 million in 2015 while domestic tourism expenditure saw an increase of 10.2% to RM74,773mil compared to RM67,842mil.

“While still travelling abroad, Malaysian travellers now opt for vacations within the Asean region instead as they have become more cost-conscious,” said Tan.

He added that Matta was working closely with Tourism Malaysia and national associates of various countries in marketing and promotion activities to boost the country’s tourism industry, with business networking trips and consumer fair participations.

“Tourism in Malaysia continues to be bright as long as we keep on developing and strengthening our capacity building, infrastructure and service standards to serve both new and return tourists,” said Tan, adding that tourism was one of the key foreign exchange revenue earners to the Malaysian economy.

Read more at The Star


More Chinese flights to Sabah expected with Sandakan Airport runway extension

The recent announcement by Malaysian prime minister Najib Abdul Razak that Sabah’s Sandakan Airport runway will be extended to handle both direct and chartered flights from China has been met with positive reception from the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA).

MATTA’s vice president for inbound and domestic, KL Tan, said: “Increased tourists arrivals will boost the economy. There were 183 charter flights from China to KotaKinabalu (Sabah’s state capital) in 2016 but none directly to Sandakan."

Sandakan Airport. Credit:

Tan believes that Sandakan's food and culture will appeal to Chinese tourists as the market is now more “mature and want to experience authenticity and nature”.

He indicated that there has been more enquires to eco-attractions like Turtle Island Borneo, Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

But for Sandakan to be able to cater to the influx of Chinese tourists, Tan urged stakeholders to work faster to ensure there are enough F&B outlets, hotels and attractions. As well, Mandarin-speaking guides and an efficient transportation system are also required.

“A glaring setback for Sandakan is the lack of proper beaches for tourists to enjoy watersport activities. But it will ease the lack of accommodation for Chinese tourists to KotaKinabalu during the peak season, and we certainly welcome a more balanced spread of Chinese tourists to other towns in Sabah,” concluded Tan.

By S Puvaneswary, Kuala Lumpur, March 13, 2017 - Daily News Archives TTG Asia


TTG Show Daily - ITB Berlin - Issue 2

In bound business to Sabah in 2017 is expected to perform better compared with 2016. We project European markets to grow by 10 per cent over 2016, given the weak ringgit. We offer these markets nature and adventure tours and a choice of luxury packages to basic free-and-easy arrangements, all of which appeal to European travellers.

To ensure successful year, we will have joint promotions and tactical campaigns with business partners. We will also launch three new tour packages this year for tourists to experience the food, culture and lifestyle of locals.

Read more at TTG Show Daily - ITB Berlin - Issue 2