Saturday, 22 June 2019

BPMB launches RM1 billion Tourism Infrastructure Fund

KUCHING, June 21 (Bernama) -- Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd (BPMB) has launched a RM1 billion Tourism Infrastructure Fund to encourage industry operators to develop travel facilities as part of efforts to help the nation achieve a target of 30 million foreign tourists and generate RM100 billion in tourism income by 2020.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the tourism sector had been earmarked as one of the government’s focus areas and an enabler for the transformation of Malaysia into a high-income nation.

“We hope the fund will play a catalytic role to spur investment in the development of tourism facilities,” he said when launching the fund together with Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi here, today.

Lim said travel and tourism had a crucial role in stimulating economic sectors such as accommodation, transport, shopping, food and beverage, entertainment, handicrafts, spa, wellness, healthcare and education.

“Over the years, the industry has grown significantly both in tourist arrivals and economic contribution — from 10.2 million tourist arrivals in 2000 that brought in RM17.3 billion in tourism receipts, to 25.8 million visitors last year, contributing RM84.1 billion in tourism receipts,” he added.

Previously, the Ministry of Finance launched the RM3 billion Industry Digitalisation Transformation Fund and RM1 billion Sustainable Development Fund, both also facilitated through BPMB, as part of Budget 2019 initiatives.

Lim said the Federal Government had in March distributed half of the 2018 tourism tax revenue totalling RM67.74 million to all the state governments as promised.

“The amount distributed to state governments included RM2.58 million to Sarawak, RM12.67 million to Sabah, RM10.98 million to Penang, RM10.30 million to Selangor, and RM7.99 million to Johor,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohamaddin pointed out that the tourism industry continued to be a significant contributor to the country’s economic growth, with tourist arrivals growing 2.7 per cent to some 6.7 million visitors in the first quarter of 2019 compared with 6.5 million during the same period last year.

“In terms of tourist expenditure, Malaysia also saw positive growth of 16.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2019,” he said in the speech at the launch.

Elaborating on the fund, Mohamaddin said BPMB was offering a competitive financing rate from 4.0 per cent to 5.5 per cent per annum and the facility is available through Dec 31, 2020 or until the fund has been fully utilised.

“The fund is available to all tourism infrastructure projects such as those that contribute to the development of the tourism industry and not limited to hotels, convention centres and facilities related to education, medical or agro tourism,” he added.

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