Johor tourism needs more funds

Johor Published 5 months ago on 19 October 2023 | Author TIN Media

Industry participants here argue that increasing funding and support for the tourism sector is necessary to increase tourist numbers in the future.

Jimmy Leong, chairman of the Johor Tourist Guides Association, stated that the RM350 million allotted for the industry in Budget 2024 is not enough to market the nation for the Visit Malaysia 2026 campaign.

To be honest, RM350 million is simply insufficient to promote the nation, especially considering the high expense of using both physical and digital media for advertising.

"We must evaluate the expenses associated with promoting Malaysia through digital channels and the necessity of participating in international travel shows.

"The amount allotted is insufficient for such a large sector and could cause us to fall behind schedule in terms of increasing visitor arrivals," the speaker stated.

He continued by saying that the tourism industry has made a substantial financial and employment contribution to the nation.

For state tourism organizations, it might be discouraging since they could think that the federal government is not sincere about advancing the industry.

He expressed his hope that the federal government will reconsider the situation and give the business a more fair share.

Leong thinks the state government will consider upgrading roads and restrooms as part of the Johor Budget 2024.

The chairman of the Malaysian Association of Hotels Johor chapter, Ivan Teo, stated that the restructuring of subsidies, such as the petrol subsidy, and the decision to raise the sales and service tax (SST) from 6% to 8% could have an impact on domestic tourism.

"But since Singaporeans are Johor's primary target market, our tourism industry as a whole might not be too badly impacted, but we will still see a decline in domestic visitors," he said.

Regarding the RM350 million allotment for the industry, Teo stated that the utilization of the funds is more significant than their quantity.

"All industry participants must collaborate to support the government's efforts to promote the sector, as the allocation is relatively small," he stated.

Teo expects the state government might provide subsidies on the Johor budget to nearby hotels that wish to renovate their structures.

He stated, "Many hotels need to be renovated or updated because they were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic."

"The hotels here would greatly benefit from such grants from the state government, which could also indirectly increase tourism in Johor."