Airbnb lauds decision to expand tourism tax to include short-term accommodation

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Airbnb welcomed the government’s decision to expand the tourism tax to include the short-term accommodation industry, adding that the tax would be a fair and sustainable way to raise more revenue for local communities.

In a media statement today, Airbnb said the company is looking forward to working closely with the authorities as they take positive steps towards developing a comprehensive framework allowing the implementation of the policy, as well as continuing to support tourism’s much-needed recovery.

Airbnb has long supported well-designed tourism taxes and consistently advocated for expanding the tourism tax to include short-term accommodation in Malaysia. The company has partnered with hundreds of jurisdictions around the world to collect and remit tourism and hotel taxes and raised more than US$2.5 billion (RM10.3 billion) to date.

“The Airbnb community already makes a significant contribution to the Malaysian economy, injecting more than RM3.98 billion into the economy and supporting over 52,100 local jobs in communities across the country,” said Airbnb head of public policy (Southeast Asia) Mich Goh (pictured).

She noted that with increasingly more and more travellers choosing to stay in short-term accommodation, it is important the tourism tax covers the whole industry to maximise the entire tourism industry’s contribution to the Malaysian community.

In the 2021 Budget, the Putrajaya announced it would expand the tourism tax to include accommodation booked through online travel platforms, such as Airbnb from July 1, 2021. 

While the tourism tax is currently suspended due to Covid-19, it was previously unevenly applied to different accommodation operators.

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