KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the government is serious in its efforts to assist tourism industry players in the country who have been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic for the survival of the industry.
According to her, this was proven through the RM200 million allocation for the Tourism Recovery Plan under Budget 2021 as tabled by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz recently.
Nancy explained that even though the allocation was not stated in the tabling of 2021 Budget, the allocation was provided to her ministry.
“This is not a supplementary budget; this is the budget for tourism for 2021. Apart from that, there was allocation for handicraft as well…if last year we received only RM57 million, we are now getting RM91 million.
“Similarly, Aswara was not mentioned and all these budget allocations are important for us to highlight and to inform industry practitioners especially in tourism and those involved in handicraft,’ she said in a 2021 Budget interview here today.
Under the Tourism Recovery Plan, she said the ministry would be implementing several initiatives such as discounts for tourist destinations, family holiday packages, arts and culture promotion, accommodation vouchers and Meet in Malaysia campaign.
She said several areas were not mentioned in the budget presentation and she was aware of the grievances of industry players who were unhappy as their sector was not directly mentioned in the budget.
As such, Nancy said several days after the tabling, she held an engagement session with industry practitioners to explain to them and discuss efforts to expedite restoring the tourism sector.
She said among the quick actions taken to assist the tourism sector was a meeting with Bank Negara Malaysia soon among others to discuss issues on Penjana Tourism Financing Scheme raised by industry players.
Issues such as difficulties in getting loans, strict application conditions and rejection of applications faced by industry players as they are categorised as high-risk industry, she said.
Besides giving new ideas to the government to allow tourism activities between green zones in the country, the ministry has and will implement several main strategies to help the recovery of the domestic tourism industry, she said.
“These include offering more creative and interesting tourism packages such as organising tourism festivals and carnivals online besides giving priority to government approved segments, such as medical tourism, theme parks and MICE (Travel, Meeting, Incentive, Conference, Exhibition),” she added.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz when tabling the 2021 Budget recently, announced several allocations for the tourism sector, including RM50 million for maintenance and the repair of tourism facilities nationwide in addition to the Grant Khas Prihatin of RM1,000 to traders and hawkers in Sabah who are affected by the drop in tourist arrivals due to the Covid-19 pandemic. – Bernama