Consult us before imposing departure levy, urges tourism group

The proposed departure levy on air travellers is aimed at encouraging the development of domestic tourism.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (Mita) wants the government to reach out to tourism industry players first for feedback before imposing a proposed departure levy.

Mita president Uzaidi Udanis said tourism operators were being kept in the dark, not knowing how the mechanism would work after its implementation.

“It will be better if the government engages with us first. We need to know. Don’t announce at the very last minute. Inform the operators, travel agencies and airlines first so we can plan earlier and implement in a systematic manner. If they inform us late, the plan may backfire,” he told FMT.

Uzaidi said there had been no information on how the levy will be implemented.

On Thursday Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah told the Dewan Negara that a departure levy would come into effect in July or on a later date.

The levy will only be imposed on air travellers, he said when tabling the Departure Levy Bill 2019 for the second reading at Dewan Negara on Thursday.

Uzaidi Udanis.

The proposed levy is RM20 on anyone travelling by air to Asean countries and RM40 to other countries. This fee is in addition to the RM73 passenger service charge already imposed by airports.

However, Uzaidi said: “Don’t just come out with an announcement like this but instead explain to us first. Do we include this tax when we purchase flight tickets or must payment be made in cash? Do we have to pay extra at the counter?”

He welcomed the proposed levy, which he said was “quite cheap” compared to that in other countries. “It is very good for domestic and inbound tourism. We can encourage Malaysians to travel in the country. ”

Uzaidi hoped the levy will be used to improve infrastructure for tourists. “We are quite unsure how it is going to be used and whether it can be used to improve our tourism products as maintenance is quite high.”

He said these are among the things that the government should clarify to industry players.