Hornbill Unleashed

June 28, 2017

Voon fears tourism tax will affect tourist arrivals

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

PKR Women national vice president Voon Shiak Ni is asking whether the state can still achieve its target of five million tourist arrivals this year with the implementation of tourism tax.

In noting that tourism receipts were estimated to be about RM9 million this year, Voon also asked if there was any plan by the state government to cushion the impact of tourism tax in Sarawak.

She recalled a recent statement by Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah that his ministry needed to do more branding on the state’s tourism spots as Sarawak was less known to foreign tourists as compared to areas like Penang, Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur.

She also quoted Abdul Karim as saying that the state had put tourism under the economic transformation plan.

“In Miri, the more popular tourist spots are the Mulu and Niah caves and a few national parks like the Lambir and Loagan Bunut National Park. In Kuching, we have Bako National Park, Sarawak Cultural Village, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and Damai Beach.

“However, we noticed that some of these places are not well kept or continuously upgraded to meet tourist expectations,” she said in a press statement yesterday.

Voon said it is undeniable that Sarawak can reap much more revenue from tourism if the government can capitalise on the natural resources and beauty of Mother Nature, the forests, the wildlife, the caves and beaches.

“We agree that Sarawak can offer much more in tourism. But before we see the ministry put in more efforts this year, it is a regret that the Sarawak state government had conceded to the tourism tax.

“It was also shocking to read the headlines that 3,000 tourists from China had changed their destination from Peninsular Malaysia to Thailand because of shocking amount of tourism tax of about RM100,000 that they have to pay.”

Voon asked what will become of the state’s tourism industry in the coming months if there is similar scenario of tourists cancelling their trips to the state due to the same reason.

“The local tourism industry will be affected and many people may lose their jobs. Do not tell us that we use tourism tax to improve tourism in Sarawak. It is common sense that if we do not have the business, how are we going to have the revenue or the tax?”

In view that Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said he was not aware that 3,000 Chinese tourists had changed their destination from Peninsular Malaysia to Thailand due to the tourism tax, Voon urged the chief minister to check on the matter and to treat the issue as an alarm.

Source : The Borneo Post Online



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