Travellers will need to pay extra before flying out of Malaysia starting from 1 September onwards. This is due to the government announced a new form of tax (departure levy) that was initially proposed during the tabling of Budget 2019 last year. The rates will be based on the seat class and destination.
Levy rates will depend on the intended destination as well as the flight class
According to the source, those flying from Malaysia to ASEAN countries which include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam need to pay RM8 departure tax for economy class and RM50 for other classes.
For travellers flying beyond ASEAN, those flying in economy will be charged a levy of RM20 and for those travelling in premium class other than economy need to fork out RM150.
The rates of departure levy are as below:
But, there are a few exemptions as well
But, there are a couple of exemptions as well to lessen your burden. The departure tax will not be imposed on infant and children that are less than 2 years old. For passengers who fall under transit passengers that are arriving in Malaysia to catch a connecting international flight, they are also exempted but under one condition. The transit period must not exceed 12 hours.
Besides, any crew on duty as well as anyone driving or riding any type of vehicle for personal use are exempted from paying the departure tax. This also includes pillion riders on such vehicle.
Implementing departure tax in this competitive tourism market is not a good idea
One thing to ponder, is it a good idea to implement departure tax right before the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign launched? State Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah voiced out his concern regarding this issue. According to him, the air departure tax will make Malaysia less appealing since other countries in the region have aggressively embarked on campaigns to attract more international tourists.
For Sarawak specifically, it will be a daunting task to achieve its ambitious target of achieving 5 million tourist arrivals for 2019 in conjunction with the Visit Sarawak Year 2019 campaign.
AirAsia’s Board of Directors non-independent non-executive director Datuk Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar agreed that the implementation of the departure tax wasn’t on the right time. As the world’s best low cost airline, they have always been against it to ensure the competitive price could be sustained for travellers.
With the on-going Visit Sarawak Year 2019 campaign and next year, Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign, the timing is a bit off and it could affect the statistic of travellers coming to Malaysia. The departure tax will make Malaysia less attractive to tourists.