The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has urged the government to engage with tourism industry stakeholders before implementing the departure levy.
President Tan Kok Liang said the government needs to do a more in-depth study on the levy before implementation, especially when the Visit Malaysia 2020 is only six months ahead.
"With all the aggressive promotion, the tourism industry should achieve the target (for the Visit Malaysia 2020), but the departure levy will definitely defer it," he said.
Tan told reporters this after signing a memorandum of understanding with four e-hailing companies to utilise Matta-registered transport via the e-hailing platform.
He said the government should look into a report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which projected the levy to have a negative impact on the airline industry.
"We are not saying ‘yes or no’ to the departure levy, but have asked the government to study its implication," he added.
Tan also argued that the levy would not curb interest in overseas travel and stimulate domestic tourism.
"Do you think people will stop going to Europe just because of the departure levy and instead decide to travel domestically? I don't think so. It will not boost domestic tourism much," he said.
The Departure Levy Bill 2019 was passed in Parliament on April 10, for implementation on June 1, before it was deferred to Sept 1.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi said in Parliament this week said his ministry wanted implementation to be delayed until after Visit Malaysia 2020.
Tourism Malaysia, a tourism promotion agency under the ministry, has projected the Visit Malaysia 2020 to bring in 30 million international tourists and RM100 billion in tourist receipts to the country.