The tourism industry is an important sector in the Malaysian economy, with tourism-related activity contributing 15% to Malaysia’s GDP, employing more than 20% of the workforce and providing a source of external income to the economy. The tourism sector also brings spillovers to other sectors in the economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the tourism sector, as tourist arrivals declined significantly following lockdown measures by a number of countries. In Malaysia, the gradual uplifting of restrictions has allowed the resumption of domestic interstate travel, which will pave the way for the industry to recover. Moving forward, the tourism sector needs to adjust to the post pandemic new normal, chiefly to address hygiene, safety, and ultimately consumer and business confidence in line with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism 2020.
In this light, the PENJANA Tourism Financing (PTF) is introduced as part of the Government’s efforts to aid the tourism sector. The purpose of the PTF is to support Malaysian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector, by preserving their capacity and assisting them to adjust and remain viable post COVID-19. Based on engagements with associations from the tourism sector, some examples of adjustments to the new normal include enhancing business models, deploying new practices (e.g. refurbishments to align with SOP, contactless check-in, hygiene procedures) and digitalisation (e.g. online payment gateways, digital presence, digital marketing).
Malaysian SMEs in the eligible core tourism and tourism-related sectors which are either SMEs as defined by SME Corp Malaysia; or SMEs licensed by / registered with Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MoTAC) may apply for the PTF by contacting the participating financial institutions. 12 participating financial institutions (PFIs) will be offering the PTF at the outset with varying features, as outlined in the following pages. Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan (SJPP) will be supporting the PTF by providing guarantees to eligible SMEs in the tourism industry to gain access to financing.
In addition, the Government is also providing support to the tourism sector through tax incentives i.e. exemption of tourism tax, exclusion of service tax for hotels, income tax relief for tourism expenses and deferment of tax installment payment.
Dedicated funding and support is also being channeled to the tourism related sectors of arts, culture, entertainment and events through the provision of soft loans, grants for digital marketing, funds focusing on animation and visual effects and various initiatives to assist players adapt to the new normal through training in digital distribution, development of new business models and connectivity. SMEs may also access facilities under Bank Negara Malaysia’s Fund for SMEs, such as the Automation and Digitalisation Facility, as well as schemes and products by financial institutions.
Other Government measures under PENJANA include efforts to protect jobs and promote employment. When the economy recovers, hiring incentives and expanded wage subsidy, reskilling and training will be equally crucial to ensure workers maintain or upgrade their skills.
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