KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture will receive an allocation of RM1.1 billion in Budget 2020 to fulfil the aspirations of Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020).
It includes RM90 million specifically for driving awareness, promotions and programmes for the VMY 2020 campaign.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling Budget in 2020 in the Dewan Rakyat today, said the VMY 2020 is the Government’s primary effort to brand Malaysia as a top destination for tourism, with a target of achieving 30 million tourist arrivals.
“The Government will continue to allocate 50% of tourism tax to respective State Governments to support their efforts in conjunction with VMY2020. A substantial portion of the departure levy collected will be allocated for tourism infrastructure projects,” he said.
To amplify the economic benefits of VMY2020, he said, the Government will roll out a host of tax incentives targeted at the arts and tourism sector, such as Income tax exemption be given for organisers of approved arts and cultural activities, approved international sports recreational competitions, and conferences organisers;
He noted that new investments in international theme park projects will be given income tax exemption of 100% of statutory income or Investment Tax Allowance of 100% to be set off against 70% for five years.
Also increasing tax deductions given to companies sponsoring arts, cultural and heritage activities in Malaysia from RM700,000 to RM1,000,000 per year.
In addition, Accelerated Capital Allowance for expenditure incurred on the purchase of new locally assembled excursion bus to be fully claimed within 2 years; and excise duty exemption of 50% for locally assembled vehicles be given to tour operators for the purchase of qualified new tourism vehicles.
“The funicular train service to Penang Hill will achieve more than two million passengers per year, exceeding its capacity. The Government will contribute RM100 million towards the construction of a new cable car system to Penang Hill, with any additional costs to be financed by the State Government,” added Lim.
In addition, the Government will allocate RM5 million to the Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) to support Malaysian visual art galleries and exhibition organisers in holding art exhibitions.
On top of this, RM10 million will be allocated to Think City to preserve culture and urban heritage.
“Among the VMY2020 programmes, we are also having Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 to solidify Malaysia’s leading position as a medical tourist destination in the region. Medical tourism is a rapidly expanding sector in Malaysia, growing 17% annually from 2015 until 2018.
“In 2018, it generated RM1.5 billion revenue receipts from 1.2 million healthcare travellers. The Government will allocate RM25 million to the Malaysian Healthcare Tourism Council (MHTC) to strengthen the position of Malaysia as the preferred destination for health tourism,” said Lim.
To date, e-visa applications are available for 10 countries, including China and India. To facilitate the visa application process, licensed travel agents under the MoTAC are allowed to submit group application for up to 100 people per transaction through the eNTRI and eVISA system.