Departure levy will hurt Malaysia’s tourism industry, says expert

KUALA LUMPUR: The implementation of the departure levy on all passengers departing Malaysian airports is expected to affect tourist arrivals.

Institute of Malaysian and International Studies director Prof Sufian Jusoh said a study conducted by the Australian Productivity Commission found that every 10% hike in airport charges will cause a reduction in traffic of 1.2%.

“Hence, Malaysia may see a drop in passengers of 6%, or two million tourists, if the departure levy of 50%, or RM40, is imposed on destinations other than Asean countries.”

The levy is set at RM20 per head for those going to Asean countries.

This departure tax is on top of the RM73 passenger service charge (PSC) already imposed by airports.

Suffian said Malaysia had already experienced negative growth in tourist arrivals from foreign countries.

“We must acknowledge that other Asean countries are also making efforts to woo and increase the number of foreign tourists to their countries,” he said in an interview on Bernama News Channel’s (BNC) “Ruang Bicara” programme here last night.

During the tabling of the Budget 2019, the government had proposed imposing a departure levy on all air travellers leaving the country from June 1, 2019 to encourage the development of domestic tourism.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke had earlier said the government was studying the best mechanism to collect the departure levy before it is implemented on all outbound air travellers.

He said the government had also not finalised whether the levy would be added on to the PSC or collected by the Customs or Immigration Department.