YB DATO` SRI AZALINA DATO` OTHMAN SAID
Minister of Tourism, Malaysia
IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE
A very good morning to all.
1. On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Malaysia,
I would like to thank the organizer for inviting me to officiate this morning’s event – the MATTA FAIR 2008.
2. I am made to understand that the MATTA FAIR is not only an established trademark and a permanent event in the tourism calendar, but also a very much anticipated event among the consumers, exhibitors, Buyers and Sellers as well.
Ladies and gentlemen
3. The Ministry of Tourism is continuously promoting Malaysia as an attractive tourist destination. This is in line with the Government’s primary objective to enhance Malaysia’s competitiveness and position Malaysia as a top-of-mind tourist destination.
4. For that matter, I am pleased to note that tourist arrivals for the period from January to July 2008 recorded 12.9 million visitors. This is an increase of 3.9 per cent compared to the same period last year. On that note, I would like to thank all those who have contributed in one way or another in complementing to the growth in tourist arrivals to Malaysia.
5. Although MATTA focuses, both, on inbound and outbound travels, I am glad to hear that it has taken the initiative to accelerate the growth of our domestic tourism. Almost 35% of the booths at the MATTA FAIR today are specially taken up to promote domestic and inbound tourism.
This is very encouraging and is in line with the Government’s focus of promoting more domestic traveling and in bound tourism.
6. Speaking of domestic travel, the recent Budget 2009 announcement by the Hon. Dato` Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, demonstrated the Government’s sincere effort to help and alleviate the sufferings of the people and also to help boost domestic tourism.
7. The 2009 Budget has made provisions to reduce all toll charges by 50% for all buses (except at border entry points like those at Johor Causeway, Second Link and Bukit Kayu Hitam). This toll reduction will take effect from 15 September 2008.
8. In addition, bus operators will be given sales tax exemption on the purchase of locally assembled new buses and Accelerated Capital Allowance on the expenditure incurred. Further, the road tax will also be reduced to RM20 a year for all bus and taxi operators, including rent-a-car and limousine operators.
9. Such efforts are testimony of the Government’s concern towards building up the economic sustainability of the people. This will definitely help to boost the travel industry, especially the domestic tourism.
Ladies and gentlemen
Before I conclude, I would like to express my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the Organizer, Mr. Ngiam Foon, the President and to Dato’ Mohd Khalid, the Organizing Chairman, MATTA FAIR 2008 for making this event a success.
I also would like to applaud the efforts by the individuals, sponsors, corporate contributors and all those who have given their time and commitment in supporting the tourism industry. And to all our Muslim friends, ‘Selamat Berpuasa’
With those words, it gives me great pleasure to declare the MATTA FAIR 2008 open.