Malaysia resumes tourism fund to aid sector

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) has resumed a tourism fund dubbed Gamelan for tourism operators to avail of for promotions and marketing campaigns to revitalise the tourism sector.

The fund, first introduced in July 2019 with an allocation of RM5 million (US$1.2 million), was postponed last year due to the implementation of the movement control order and the country shutting its border to foreign arrivals.

Tour operators in Malaysia can leverage Gamelan fund for promotions; group of kayakers in Labuan island, Malaysia pictured 

The Ministry of Finance has approved the resumption of the remaining special allocation of RM3,086,180 for the Gamelan programme, for use through this year.

Tourism, arts and culture minister Nancy Shukri said that the tourism fund guidelines have also been improved to help reactivate the tourism, arts and culture sectors that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

The allocation ceiling for each company requesting assistance has been increased from RM200,000 to RM300,000. For domestic and foreign promotions, it has been increased to RM20,000 and RM30,000, respectively.

Those involved in digital promotional activities such as participation in online travel exhibitions and virtual sales missions including webinars can apply for a matching grant.

The grant works on the basis of reimbursable financial assistance, with eligible companies allowed to claim 50 per cent of the total cost of their promotional project or the maximum amount allowed for each project category. Application and payment procedures have also been simplified.

Eligible companies include accommodation and product operators; integrated resorts; registered tourism agencies; travel, hospitality and shopping associations; and community-based tourism operators.

However, consideration of the application is subject to compliance with standard operating procedures issued by the Ministry of Health and the National Security Council, which are updated from time to time.

Uzaidi Udanis, president, Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA), said: “The reintroduction of the matching grant is timely as the Arabian Travel Market is just around the corner and it is an important trade show for Malaysian sellers wishing to tap the Middle East market.”

“(The grant) will assist (MITA members) to organise roadshows and training workshops on identifying, pricing and packaging new offerings in off-the beaten-destinations in Malaysia.”

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