Budget 2023: tourism sector needs more funding to promote M’sia abroad, hoteliers say
Country needs more than domestic travellers, industry players opine
GEORGE TOWN – More funding is needed in Budget 2023 for the tourism industry to promote Malaysia aggressively, as competition from other countries is fierce, now that international tourism has resumed following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Penang chapter of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said.
The decline of the ringgit against other currencies makes it difficult to promote Malaysia overseas, said MAH Penang chairman Tony Goh.
As every item in tourism promotional activities is usually quoted in US dollars, there is a need to consider higher funding in the budget to offset losses in foreign currency exchange, Goh told The Vibes in a reaction to Budget 2023, which was tabled in Parliament today.
He welcomed the RM5 billion that was allocated for the tourism sector in the government’s spending plan.
MAH vice-president Khoo Boo Lim said that as almost all international borders are opening up, Malaysia should prioritise attracting more international arrivals.
“The industry can’t predominantly rely on domestic tourism alone. The budget for tourism is relatively small, as many international initiatives and promotions are all quoted in US dollars.
“With our currency exchange rate, the amount allocated is definitely insufficient,” Khoo said.
Kedah tourism veteran Ahmad Pishol Isahak said the government must have both the political and economic willpower to execute its spending plan, such as bringing in chartered flights to help mitigate operating costs.
“This is so we can regain our position as a top regional destination.”
Malaysia used to be a preferred destination, but it has fallen on some tough times of late, with a sluggish forecast for the industry moving forward due to factors such as rising operating costs, acute shortage of manpower and the lack of excitement in its products.
Among the incentives disclosed in the budget are RM20 million to promote Malaysia as a medical tourism site, RM10 million to Think City Sdn Bhd to re-urbanise Kuala Lumpur, namely at Petaling Street, RM25 million in incentives to promote domestic tourism, RM10 million for eco-tourism, new chartered flights from the Middle East and East Asia as well as RM90 million in grants to promote activities related to tourism.
source – The Vibes