KUALA LUMPUR (June 6): The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is seeking details of the mechanism of the RM1 billion Penjana Tourism Financing (PTF) facility which will be made available to finance transformation initiatives by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism industry.

In a statement, MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the association wants details of the mechanism of the PTF facility, where "we are looking at extremely low interest rates or interest-free loans for digitalisation under the new norm where most procedures and sales are contactless, and are also done extensively through e-marketing platforms".

“Also, in order to remain competitive, investment in health and safety protocols is necessary to boost travellers’ confidence and simultaneously safeguard both employees and tourists,” he said.

Tan said however, to date, under the Special Relief Facility (SRF) fund, MATTA was made to understand there had been no drawdown yet for tourism players under the previous Economic Stimulus Package.

He said members had also complained that they were either disqualified for the fund or the allocation had been fully used up.

“We hope that the government will monitor and supervise this funding facility to ensure fairness to all,” he said.

“The tourism tax and service tax exemption for accommodation services, extended to June 30, 2021, is also welcomed to boost travel demand.

“It may not pose any positive effect due to weak demand in the next six months, but we anticipate it will help spur travel interest in 2021, especially when regional and international borders have opened up,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tan said the extension of the Wage Subsidy Programme by three months needs to be reviewed again as the tourism industry will only recover by year end.

“Likewise, we hope that the government will continue with the staff retention programme,” he said.

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