Budget 2023: Not enough to meet Tourism Ministry’s goals, says hotel group

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said that the new Budget 2023 allocation to promote tourism is insufficient to achieve the aims of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac).

The blanket method of the allocation may not reach struggling sectors, the group said in a statement that was posted on its Facebook page yesterday.

“However, seeing as Motac is targeting over 16 million tourist arrivals with RM42.9 billion in revenue for the year 2023, we feel the allocated amount is insufficient as it constitutes less than 0.6 per cent of the expected receipts,” it said.

It added that hotels in Malaysia have also had to face significant increases in operating costs because of the electricity tariff hike.

The industry’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic has also been hampered by higher minimum wages and lower work hours, it claimed.

MAH went on to propose several ways the sector can be aided: A moratorium for the electricity hikes till the end of 2023, a one-off stimulus package for hotels or continuous added value programmes, special tax allowances for hotel renovations or refurbishments begun after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, fast tracking hotels’ applications for foreign workers, regulation of short-term accommodations, collection of tourism tax at the country’s entry points.

“We hope that in light of the auspicious year, the government will be keen to help our flagging industry in these crucial two years interim as part of its preparation for Visit Malaysia 2025,” MAH said.

Yesterday, the President of the Malaysian Budget and Business Hotel Association (MyBHA) Sri Ganesh Michiel reportedly expressed his disappointment that the newly tabled Budget 2023 had failed to look into a positive long-term impact on the industry.

The budget should have a specific improvement for the hospitality and tourism industry as the industry needed a more effective solution in terms of allocation to resolve the threats it faced and to recover taxes and revenue that were lost due to the absence of specific laws, he reportedly said.

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the Finance Minister, tabled the new Budget 2023 on Friday, allocating RM250 million to promote tourism and efforts to resolve road congestion for tourism hotspots.