Government advised to create consultation board for business events to help speed up economic recovery

In regards to the recommendation by Malaysia Tourism Association on the budget allocation, Irmohizam Ibrahim, Executive Director of World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur and Chairman of the Asia Pacific Member Advisory Council (MAC) for Conference and Exhibitions agrees that it is a viable solution as the allocation will help directly to revive the tourism industry and the nation’s economy.

The recommendation made on Nov 21 stressed the need for the Government to help distribute the current allocation and budget under the tourism recovery plan to ensure the competitiveness of the sector now and in the future.

The tabled Budget 2021 on Nov 6 provides an initiative amount for the recovery and continued development of the tourism and hospitality sectors. 

RM200 million is allocated for the Tourism Recovery Plan under Budget 2021 with RM50 million for training programmes and placement for 8,000 unemployed airline staffs, RM50 million for repair and maintenance of tourism, RM20 million for infrastructure upgrade and intensify Kampung-kampung Budaya promo in Terengganu, Malacca, Sarawak and Negeri Sembilan, RM10 million for maintenance of national heritage buildings, as well as RM35 million for the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council.

“I am contented/delighted because, through the 2021 Budget, the Government acknowledges that the tourism sector, especially airlines, is one of the most badly/severely affected sectors,” he expressed.

Taking into account the current scenario due to the global health crisis, the Government is expected to expand incentives for the sector of exhibition services and business events as well as events organisation. 

Irmohizam further urged to consider establishing a tourism and event organisation committee as a consultative body to preserve the interests of the industry. This body will breathe a new life to the efforts in addressing the issue of tourism premises, exhibition centres, and convention facilities closure, the deterioration of the hospitality business and other parties involved.

“While the Government has decided to lift CMCO early in some states, I too hope the Government will give us some leeway to conduct programmes and events adhering to the new norm. 

We have no choice but to adjust to the new norm and formulate new strategies to restore the economy. However, leniency in enforcing the law is vital to keep us afloat in the current health and economy crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

He also hopes for the travel bubble arrangement be expedited for the benefit of all. Presuming the budget is viewed from a broader context by taking into account the importance of all parties, the tourism industry and hospitality will be able to grow back effectively as soon as possible. 

He highlighted that contribution from both sectors in the country’s economic growth is crucial and must not be ignored. 

Notably, in 2009, 1,025 business events were organised in Malaysia and managed to attract more than 540,000 international business travellers. MACEOS stated that this type of event has contributed RM3.9 billion direct spending to the country and managed to produce an economic impact of as much as RM9.2 billion. 

Furthermore, until August 2020 alone, more than 1,250 business events had to be postponed and most were even cancelled, which has caused an unprecedented loss amounting up to RM1.7 billion.

“Thus, Government intervention in this matter is welcomed to improve economic outcomes,” he concluded.

The Budget 2021 was passed at policy stage with a voice vote yesterday [Nov 26].

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