Taxes on Airbnb do not benefit Malaysia

PETALING JAYA (July 12): Malaysia is not benefitting from the taxes on short stay platforms like Airbnb, because it is flowing out of the country, said the the Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (MAHO) president Tan Sri Teo Chiang Hong.

Citing Teo, the Malay Mail reported today that the tourism tax imposed on the local four- and five-star hotels does not affect the US online hospitality broker because the Airbnb’s South-east Asian regional office is in Singapore.

“Besides the outflow of money from the country, this also means the burden of paying the tax falls upon the established hotel chains,” Teo was quoted saying in his speech at MAHO’s 21st anniversary dinner at Hotel One World here last night.

Foreign tourists have been charged a RM10 tourism tax per night since Sept 2017 to increase the country’s revenue through tourism.

“It makes no sense to keep it as the tourism tax if it is is only collected from four- and five-star hotels and not from accommodations such as homestays,” Teo said.

He pointed out Airbnb recently recorded “a 100% increase in its revenue and occupancy rate year-on-year for Malaysia alone in 2018”.

“This means they are taking up to 15 per cent of the total room occupancy nationwide, which poses further challenges for the hotel industry,” he added.

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