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By Emellia Tamoh
KUCHING, June 22: Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd (BPMB) has launched a Tourism Infrastructure Fund worth RM1 billion to help boost the country’s tourism industry.
The event yesterday was officiated at by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi and Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen were also present.
The fund is to assist existing and new companies deal with or be involved in tourism-related activities such as financing the purchase of land, building construction and purchasing machinery.
BPMB chairman Datuk Zaiton Mohd Hasan said the fund could also be used by companies to develop tourism-related infrastructures like hotels, convention centres, malls or medical and agro tourism-related facilities.
His text-of-speech was read out by its president cum group chief executive officer, Arshad Mohamed Ismail.
“Tourism alone contributed RM84.1 billion to the national economy last year, a 2.4 per cent rise since 2017. Hence, it is necessary to provide sufficient and well-functioning tourism infrastructure,” he stressed.
Under the fund, a competitive financing rate from 4 to 5.5 per cent per annum will be offered, and the facility is expected to be available until Dec 31, 2020, or until the fund is fully utilised.
City a report by the World Economic Forum, he said Malaysia’s tourism infrastructure is at the intermediate stage when compared to Singapore and Thailand.
“We must be prepared as competition will only grow tougher. A concerted effort by industry players is important to prepare for these challenges, especially on the fight over global tourists,” highlighted Zaiton.
The government has started promotional strategies and programmes in preparation for Visit Malaysia Year next year. Therefore, he reiterated the need for industry players, partners and various stakeholders to work closely together to ensure its success.
Meanwhile, Mohamaddin disclosed that Malaysia had recorded a 2.7 per cent growth in tourist arrivals, or about 6.7 million visitors, in the first quarter of this year, compared to 6.5 million during the same period last year.
“In terms of tourist expenditure, Malaysia also recorded positive growth of 16.9 per cent for the first quarter of 2019,” he added.
With the introduction of this fund, he hoped more industry operators would take advantage of the financing facility with subsidised financing rate provided by BPMB to create and innovate more tourism products that would help attract more visitors to experience the beauty of Malaysia.
“Next year will be an exciting one as we roll out the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign to help us meet our long-term goals in both tourist arrivals and tourism income. Let us all play our part to ensure we succeed as a nation,” he said. — DayakDaily