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Budget hotels working on app to boost business

PETALING JAYA (Oct 31): Budget hotels are hoping that an app will help them to counter the increasing popularity of Airbnb accommodation online travel agencies.

Malaysian Budget Hotel Association president Emmy Suraya Hussein told Free Malaysia Today (FMT) that the app is being developed “with the cooperation of the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry as part of an effort to promote Visit Malaysia 2020”.

“We are not only promoting hotels in Visit Malaysia 2020, but the country as a whole.

“A lot of tourists and even Malaysians aren’t aware of interesting places in Malaysia,” she told the news portal.

Emmy explained that app will provide choices “from a package of hotels and facilitate visits to places of interest”.

She added that online travel agencies and Airbnb “had disrupted the hotel business, causing budget hotel occupancy to drop by up to 30% in Kuala Lumpur alone”.

“They can flood the market with their prices because they are not subjected to taxes, unlike hotels and budget hotels which need to pay corporate tax, tourism tax and so on,” she said.

It was reported earlier this month that the Malaysia Productivity Corporation and several other stakeholders are undertaking a public consultation exercise on a draft guideline to regulate Short-Term Residential Accommodation (STRA) activities on digital platforms, including Airbnb, Agoda and Booking.com.

The guideline is a collaborative effort by a technical working group, co-chaired by the Department of Local Government, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, facilitated by the MPC and involving several relevant stakeholders.

“The draft guideline has six components, which covers the licensing of hosts and agents, licensing of platforms, number of days that the STRA can operate, fire safety requirement, managing public nuisance and taxation,” it said in a statement then.

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