2018 Budget initiatives to elevate tourism to greater heights

KEPALA BATAS: The 2018 Budget will elevate the tourism sector to greater heights, thanks to Visit Malaysia 2020.

Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said that ministry will improve the industry through the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS), together with Tourism Malaysia and other industry players.

“The United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation report in 2016 ranked Malaysia at 12th position in terms of tourist arrivals. It is not impossible for us to better this.

“The initiatives announced in the 2018 Budget will really benefit the industry as a whole,” she told a press conference after the state Puteri Umno meeting here today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in tabling the 2018 Budget on Thursday, had declared the year 2020 as Visit Malaysia Year. That same year, Malaysia is also slated to host a series of major international events such as the APEC Summit, World Congress of Information Technology (WCIT), as well as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

RM2 billion has been allocated to the Small and Medium Enterprise Tourism Fund to provide soft loans to tour operators with an interest subsidy of two per cent.

The prime minister had also announced that a sum of RM500 million will be provided to develop and promote tourism through upgrading infrastructure as well as promoting homestay and eco-tourism programmes.

Najib expanded the eVisa regional hub by facilitating visa applications worldwide, especially for expatriates, foreign students, and the Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H). He also extended tax incentives for investment in new 4-and 5-star hotels until 31 Dec 2020 and also extended tax incentives for tour operators to year of assessment 2020.

Source : New Straits Times

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