MOTAC to create special tourism investment zones to revitalise tourism in Malaysia — minister

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 9): The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) under its National Tourism Policy 2020-2030 is set to create special tourism investment zones to revitalise tourism in Malaysia.

During the virtual Invest Malaysia 2021 event on Tuesday (Nov 9), Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the National Tourism Policy 2020-2030 is focused on increasing international and national partnerships and ensuring the sustainability and resilience of the tourism industry from future uncertainties.

She added that creating special tourism investment zones is one of the strategic thrusts in which the policy will be carried out.

“Creating special tourism investment zones with attractive incentives will drive the development of high value, creative, inventive tourism and cultural products and services. This will encourage public-private partnership and increase private investment,” Nancy posited.

Nancy noted that MOTAC is currently working with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to identify and develop these said zones.

She added that special tourism investment zones will be created in each state to encourage state governments and the private sector to work together.

“We are not the business people, we may not understand what the investors would like to have. So what we have suggested is that state governments work together with the private sector.

“Also land falls under the state control, therefore it is just good for them to work with investors, and investors are the people who can see the potentials of business,” she explained.

Nancy said there are a lot of areas with potential in Malaysia, in which investors can invest and create new resorts.

“Also, under the special tourism investment zones, there are also other criteria to consider beyond only resorts. There are other facilities needed as well, may it be facilities of the banking sector or the commercial sector, or facilities like hospitals or retirement homes,” she added.

The minister noted that the special tourism investment zones are flexible as they can be moulded to the different viewpoints and approaches of different states.

“Different states would approach the [special tourism investment zones] with differing perspectives, it is not all the same all the time. It depends on how the investors put forward their ideas and what the state governments choose to do,” Nancy said.

As for incentives, she added that MOTAC provides financial assistance to tourism infrastructure providers.

“[MOTAC] with the government has set up the tourism infrastructure scheme which consists of a special tourism fund to help build and maintain tourism facilities in 2020 and 2021. The allocation for the tourism infrastructure scheme is about RM1 billion, of which a total of RM542.27 million has been approved and allocated to the eligible applicants,” she said.

Nancy added that the Malaysian government needs to think of how it can further assist investors and encourage them to invest in the tourism industry.

“As a government, we need to think of how to assist [the investors], this is what they want to know. What would be best for them? Corporate tax incentives? Policies that are friendly to them?” she stated.

Overall, the minister said the government, states and private sector must come together to attract investments and chart the way for the tourism industry’s growth. 

“Only by doing so would this ensure that no one gets left behind,” she stressed.