KUALA TERENGGANU, June 16 — The relaxation currently granted by the government under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) until Aug 31 is the perfect time to embark on ‘Cuti-cuti Malaysia’ with the opportunity to experience the ‘kayangan’ (VIP) holiday package at an affordable price.

If that is not enough, holidaymakers are also entitled to an individual income tax relief of up to RM1,000 for domestic travel expenses until Dec 31, 2021.

Majority of tourists visiting Terengganu commended the government’s initiatives and the willingness of industry players to provide great discounts as the move would definitely boost the tourism sector which was hammered by COVID-19.

One of the visitors, Jamaliah Abd Rahman, 43, from Selangor, said that she decided to have a holiday in Terengganu with three friends since June 12 and paid for two hotel rooms for the price of one.

“Imagine if previously you had to pay more than RM190 for the two-day-one-night stay, but now we only pay RM95 for a similar room. If this trend continues that I will definitely visit other states as well.

“Some of my friends are staying at a popular resort on an island here, which used to cost over RM1,700 per night but now they can get it at 40 per cent less. Not only that … the package also includes food and beverages as well as other activities,” she told Bernama here today.

In the meantime, hoteliers can also breathe a sigh of relief by taking full advantage of the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA).

Terrapuri Heritage Village owner Alex Lee Yun Ping said that the government’s assistance for the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector would help to revive the businesses which were adversely affected by the pandemic.

The individual tax relief would help revitalise the industry and everyone including the tourism agencies and the state government should also play their part, he said.

However, Lee said that four-star and three-star hotels should not be too extreme in giving discount it as it would hurt the industry and causing budget accommodation to struggle further.

“Imagine what will happen to a budget hotel if a reputable hotel set a price at only RM80 per night. Do budget hotels need to set the price at RM40 only because it will not be enough to cover the cost of labour and operations.

“I hope the assistance through the PENJANA will be fully utilised. Many entrepreneurs are facing difficulties,” he said.

To help the tourism sector, the government also provided funding worth RM1 billion to finance transformation initiatives by SMEs to remain viable and competitive in the new normal era.

Terrapuri Heritage Village, which embodying the kampung (village) atmosphere, is also offering affordable packages to visitors and according to Lee, holidaymakers can now get a package that is usually priced at RM1,200 per night for only RM690.

Meanwhile, Primula Beach Hotel’s general manager Suaibah Harun said that financing facilities through the PENJANA would certainly reduce the burden on hotel operators, especially in the exemption of service tax.

“This will reduce the burden on employers and enables businesses to continue. The move to encourage domestic tourism activities will also increase the income of entrepreneurs.

“The most important thing now is for the business to survive and to cover the employees’ salaries,” she said when contacted by Bernama.


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