Don’t meddle with Tourism Malaysia functions, Motac told

Datuk Tan Kok Liang

KUCHING: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) should not “meddle” with the functions of Tourism Malaysia which mainly highlights destination promotions and marketing.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said that the ministry should focus on its core function which is regulatory, licensing, enforcement and policy changes.

“Covid-19 has exposed fundamental cracks in the outdated Tourism Industry Act 1992 which needs urgent modernisation. The lack of enforcement is a problem that has not improved and this leads our industry to sicken and weaken, thus further reducing our capacity to compete regionally and to improve our services and products.

“Apparently the law allows the government to act on licensed stakeholders whilst unlicensed hotels and operators are allowed to flourish. So, one is forced to question the fundamentals underlying our laws and regulations if it does not protect and nurture those who abide by them,” said Tan.

The 143-page National Tourism Policy (NTP) 2020 to 2030 recently launched on 23 December 2020 does not address travel challenges under the new norm nor does it provide any roadmap or a framework for the next three years to revitalise the tourism industry post Covid-19.

“Domestic travel is also not mentioned in the NTP which is crucial for tourism recovery due to the pandemic. There was no formal and exhaustive consultation with key industry leaders like Matta in the creation of the NTP.

“Matta with its vast network as a member association of The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA), World Tourism Alliance (WTA), The Asean Tourism Association (Aseanta) and Federation of Asean Travel Associations (Fata) is ever ready to assist the government’s tourism recovery efforts and advise on structural changes needed both in the public and private sector; but the impetus of change lies in the hands of the government,” he added.