Tour OperatorsTax breaks to encourage private sponsorship of art and culture

Malaysia Budget boost for e-visas and eco-tourism

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Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Sabah
Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Sabah Photo Credit: Ecoculture/iStock

In presenting the budget in Parliament on October 21, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the allocation was for ‘clean air’ and ecotourism initiatives.

Malaysia’s tourism industry has received RM400 million (US$96m) in fresh funding under Budget 2017 to promote and enhance tourism facilities in the country.

In presenting the budget in Parliament on October 21, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the allocation was for ‘clean air’ and ecotourism initiatives. 

He also revealed the government would extend e-visa to Balkan and South Asian countries to help achieve a target of 32 million tourist arrivals next year.

Other tourism initiatives are: 

  • Pioneer status promotion and investment tax allowance for new four and five star hotels extended to December 31, 2018.
  • Tax deduction raised from RM500,000 to RM700,000 to spur private sponsorship in local and foreign arts, culture and heritage performance.

The government would also promote Malaysia through the Visit [email protected] campaign. Malaysia will also host the 2017 SEA Games and Asean Para Games, said Najib. 

Datuk Hamzah Rahmat, president of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA), said visa-free entry should be extended to more countries to increase tourist arrivals into Malaysia.

He added that Budget 2017 did not address other needs of the industry such as concessions to import newer, high-end tourist vehicles, which MATTA has consistently asked for.

Hamzah also wondered why three star hotels were left out of the tax allowance, as these accommodations were popular among tourists.

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