|TTG Business NEWS|
|License to liberalise|
By S Puvaneswary
KUALA LUMPUR Membership in the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) will no longer be a prerequisite for agency and tour operation licences from November 1.
Travel establishments will be able to apply for or renew a licence if they are a member of one of six recognised national tour and travel associations. These are the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, Malaysian Indian Travel and Tour Association, Car Rental Association of Malaysia, Bumitra Malaysia, Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association and MATTA.
Tourism minister, Dr Ng Yen Yen, said: “Membership in associations should not be dictated by the government. It should be liberalised...(so) companies can choose associations that best represent their unique needs and nature of business. This will also allow more competition among associations to serve the needs of their respective members.”
The new policy ends a decade of MATTA being the only ministry-recognised travel and tour association for licence issuance.
At press time, MATTA was unavailable for comment on whether it would continue to accept all membership applications or be more selective once the new policy is enforced. It presently has more than 2,700 members.
Morahols Travel managing director Eric Sinnaya said: “Legitimate travel agents and tour companies may be unable to get membership in any of the recognised associations. The government has to look into mechanisms to solve this scenario.”