Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) welcomes many of the initiatives outlined in the Pemerkasa Plus that the association hopes will help tourism players, in particular travel agents, stay afloat during this time of crisis.
Foremost amongst these is the push for the rollout of the vaccination program for the rakyat which will help pave the way to a quicker re-opening of borders and thereby the revival of tourism and all its related economic subsectors.
“We have written to the Minister Coordinating the Vaccination Program to fast track the vaccination program rollout for workers in the tourism industry. This move is critical if we are to reinforce the nation’s reputation as one of the foremost tourism destinations in South East Asia. As can be seen by several other countries, the success of their vaccination programs have resulted in these countries being able to open their borders to international travel,” said Datuk Tan Kok Liang, President of MATTA.
Another announcement of particular significance is the rehabilitation program for buses, a move that MATTA has been calling on the government to make since the early stages of the pandemic.
MATTA estimates based on a survey of 3,000 MATTA member companies alone indicates that we are looking at close to if not more than 9,000 vehicles classified as ‘Bas Persiaran’. To put it into context a 40 seater tour bus can cost anywhere between 490K to 580K
“We are thankful that the government has taken the bold decision to intervene on behalf of bus owners as the previous moratoriums did not apply to leasing companies. MATTA estimates that its members alone own more than 9,000 vehicles classified as Bas Persiaran many of which were purchased from credit and leasing companies – to put into context a 40-seater tour bus costs between 490K to 580K – the debt which is impossible to service given these trying times has the potential of crippling the tourism ecosystem if not dealt with swiftly and decisively,” he added.
“That being said the extension of the moratorium and Wage Subsidy Program should be extended till 31 Dec 2021. This extension should also apply to the contribution of to the HRDF. The exemption of late payment and renewal of license to SSM and deferment of penalty for payment of outstanding tax payment to LHDN is another practical move that will help companies during this period.”
“We would like to appeal to the government to approve further assistance to travel agencies with a grant of RM 10,000 each to help them to cover fixed costs and overhead costs – travel agencies in particular have been one of the hardest hit businesses many of which are trying desparately to stay afloat by turning to alternative businesses which do little to improve the situation for the company and its more than 47,000 direct employees.”
“Finally we applaud the announcement that all Ministers and Deputy Ministers are not taking their salary for 3 months and that this money be channeled towards the Covid-19 fight. This is indeed a positive contribution, a ‘walk-the-talk’ commitment by the Cabinet,” concluded Tan.