2023 Malaysia Budget Commentary by Nasaruddin Abdul Muttalib, Chief Executive Officer of Langkawi Development Authority (LADA).
At Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), it has always been a top priority for us to position Langkawi as the most desired tourist destination in the world among both local and international travellers. However, the island was heavily impacted during the pandemic.
With the recent Budget 2023 allocation of RM1 billion for the Tourism Infrastructure Financing Fund to strengthen the momentum of the recovery of the tourism sector including funding for hotel rehabilitation, urban renewal and heritage conservation, Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah is bound for great things and will be that much closer to cementing its position as a frontrunner in the tourism industry on a global stage.
Separately, the government will also be allocating RM200 million for promotion and marketing to strengthen the recovery of the tourism sector. We believe that with this allocation, the government’s target of having 15 million tourist arrivals with an income value of 47.6 billion ringgit will be attainable. As travel restrictions are being lifted gradually, we believe that Langkawi would be able to play an active and important role in attracting more international tourists to the island.
The government’s announcement of 100% tax exemption on statutory income for tour operators who bring at least 200 foreign tourists a year or handle at least 400 local tourists will be highly beneficial for the local community whose major source of income comes from tourism. This is sure to help Langkawi’s populace which are made up of 70% from the tourism sector to bounce back from the recent pandemic.
Additionally, in order to encourage Malaysians to travel within the country, the government has also allocated RM25 million to provide incentives to the people in the form of discounts, vouchers and rebates for accommodation, tour packages, handicrafts and works of art up to RM100. This offer will further entice Malaysians to visit the beautiful island of Langkawi, which is home to a spectacular mountainous landscape, crystal clear seas as well as home to plenty of beautiful, luxurious resorts.
Finally, the government had also announced their support to Pulau Tuba in Langkawi, Kedah as the first low-carbon island in Malaysia and will be providing a sales rebate of up to RM4,000 to motorcycle rental operators who replace their existing motorcycles with electric motorcycles. We feel that this is a step in the right direction as it raises the image of the island as a destination that places great emphasis on sustainability and preserving the environment.