MATTA demands to abolish Tourism Tax
As a step to improve the tourism sector of Malaysia, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has strengthened calls for abolishing Tourism Tax (TTx). The tax was implemented on September last year for foreigners at a flat rate of 10 Malaysian Ringgit (RM10) per room for a night at hotels and other private lodgings. However, MATTA believes that the tourism tax had a reverse impact on tourism industry, especially in the case of price sensitive tourists as well as long-haul travellers who like long holidays in the country.
The tourist industry in ASEAN countries had recorded good growth in number of tourists’ arrivals last year. The statistics shows Philippines had 11 per cent rise in tourist arrivals, Thailand had 7.8 per cent, and Singapore had 6.2 per cent. MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the association had concern over TTx from the initial days and expressed their concern to Tourism Ministry. “Malaysia’s tourism sector is trailing behind neighbouring countries like Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. Tourist arrivals to Malaysia dropped by 3% with 25.95 million tourists in 2017, compared to 26.76 million in 2016. Without the TTx, foreigners would be delighted to come to our country, stay longer and spend more freely,” he said.
Matta’s demand for the removal of TTx comes as the government declared zero-rated Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation on June 1st. While, Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association (Mita) president Uzaidi Udanis said the tax would be part of a long run plan to develop the country’s tourism sector considerably.