Tourism Tax Will Drive Tourists to Neighbours, Sabah Says

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The lull after the fracas between Sarawak leaders and Tourism and Culture Minister Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz two weeks ago has given way to fresh rumblings, this time from Sabah.

  • 3,000 Chinese tourists cancelling trips to Malaysia and opting for Thailand 
  • Nazri asked to clarify if tax is implemented to recover Tourism Malaysia’s debts

Parti Warisan Sabah vice-president Junz Wong wants Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz to cancel the tourism tax, at least for Sabah and Sarawak, warning it will hurt the tourism industry.

Wong called on the Sabah government to tell the federal government that it would not impose the tourism tax.

“They can go ahead if they insist, but not Sabah,” he added, FMT reported.

He said it was not good enough just to defer implementation to Aug 1 as the repercussion was already clear from a report in See Hua Daily News, the largest Chinese newspaper on Borneo island, that about 3,000 tourists from China were cancelling their trips to Malaysia because of the additional burden of the tourism tax.

Wong said many Sabah tourism players, as well as Warisan, had cautioned the federal government that this would happen.

The See Hua report quoted a tour agent that the group of 3,000 tourists would have to pay an additional RM100,000 for the tourism tax.

It is said that the group have decided to visit Thailand instead.

Wong also wants Nazri to clarify the news that the tourism tax is being implemented to recover millions in debts accrued by Tourism Malaysia.

“Nazri must either confirm or deny this. Sabahans must know the truth behind the implementation of this tourism tax,” Wong said.

He said Tourism Malaysia had not assisted much in promoting Sabah and Sarawak but with the tourism tax, the federal government would be boosting the tourism industries of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines by diverting potential tourists to Sabah and Sarawak to these countries.

Wong said: “I believe this is more than a wake-up call for Sabah so we must stand firmly against this unfair tourism tax policy as tourism is the rice bowl of many, and one of our biggest GDP contributors.”