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Tourism sector to receive RM200mil boost Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 16:25

THE tourism industry will receive an allocation of RM200mil from the mini budget announced yesterday to further improve and develop the industry.

The funds will be used to upgrade the infrastructure in tourist spots, diversify tourism products, organise more international conferences and exhibitions in Malaysia as well as improve the homestay programme.

The implementation of various tourism programmes will also be intensified to leverage on the country’s competitive advantage including eco-tourism, health and education tourism.

Apart from this, the Government will strengthen the Malaysia My Second Home Programme and consider issuing work permits to skilled spouses of the programme participants. Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners executive director Shaharuddin M. Saaid said any fresh activities would help to support the tourism sector.

“However, how much of a boost it will contribute will depend on how well these measures are implemented. The sector will slow down even faster if nothing is done. It is a good sign that the Government has identified where to channel the funds but they need to put the plans into action immediately,” he said.

Shaharuddin sees eco-tourism, health and education tourism as areas of growth for the industry as it will enable more up-market tourists, who will usually spend more time and money, to visit the country.

Reliance Pacific Bhd managing director (travel division) Tan Sin Chong said the allocation proved that the Government acknowledged that the tourism industry had the potential to grow further.

Some 22.5 million tourists visited Malaysia last year and spent about RM48bil but the number is expected to dwindle to about 20 million this year due to the economic slowdown.

 

Source: The Star



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