Govt proposes additional budget for 2020 Visit Malaysia Year campaign

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says the government is proposing an additional allocation for the 2020 Visit Malaysia Year campaign.

He said vendors and businesses in the tourism sector, especially in Sabah, are encouraged to send their proposals to the Treasury through channels such as Focus Group sessions and the government’s Portal Belanjawan 2020 web portal.

“The government places importance on a joint-venture approach and hence, in Budget 2019, RM100 million was provided for in matching grants for international marketing and promotional programmes.

“Shared prosperity can only be achieved through our shared responsibility to improve the national economy generally, and tourism specifically,” he said at a Focus Group session on promoting tourism in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.

The total number of tourist arrivals in 2018 was 25.8 million. The number of arrivals for the first half of this year has reached 13.3 million so far.

The government is targeting an increase in tourist arrivals to 30 million, in line with the 2020 Visit Malaysia Year.

Lim voiced confidence that Sabah would contribute towards achieving that growth in tourist numbers.

The government, in Budget 2019, agreed to return 50% of tourism tax proceeds to the states to support their tourism activities.

Of the RM67.7 million distributed to state governments, Sabah had received the highest allocation of RM12.7 million as of March this year.

“This sharing of proceeds will continue with the aim of contributing to the upkeep of tourist facilities. Sabah and Sarawak will continue receiving the biggest allocation in Budget 2020, as in the previous budget,” Lim said.