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(File pix) Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi. Pix by NSTP/Azhar Ramli

PUTRAJAYA: The RM70 registration fee for new tourist accommodation premises will be waived from Jan 1 to March 31 next year to encourage operators to register their businesses with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

Its minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said the premises include hotels, resorts, lodges, hostels and homestays nationwide.

“I urge all operators who have yet to register to… grab this opportunity… even before they apply for business licences from local authorities.

“We target about 1,700 operators coming forward to register during the (three-month) period,” he told reporters after meeting key tourism industry players here, today.

Mohamaddin said the ministry has set a target of 28.1 million tourists and receipts of RM92.2 billion next year.

“Our main focus for next year will be to develop the eco and culture-tourism sector. I hope the existing support and cooperation (from industry players) will boost Malaysia’s position as a tourism and culture destination to world-class standard by 2020,” he added.

He said that to ensure Malaysia remains competitive, the ministry had begun studying the country’s Tourism Policy and is in the final phase of finalising it.

Mohamaddin said the policy is founded on six key thrusts – administration transformation; setting up investment zones for tourism projects; tourism digitalisation; focusing on quality tourists; strengthening commitment towards sustainability; and raising human capital capacity.

He added that the ministry is also reviewing the National Culture Policy, which was formulated and accepted by the National Culture Congress in 1971.

After more than 47 years, the ministry feels that a review relating to arts and culture is timely.

Mohamaddin also said that several main strategies have been formulated by the ministry to provide RM100 million in grants to private companies to facilitate international promotions and marketing programmes aimed at increasing tourist arrivals.

He said that the government will even nominate more heritage sites, including the Royal Belum National Park in Perak; and the Quartz Ridge in Gombak, Selangor to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) for World Heritage Site status.

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