Airbnb Bookings In Malaysia May Soon Be Subjected To Tourism Tax

The tourism tax, which came into effect last year, is currently only applicable to hotels and charges a flat rate of RM10 per room per night.

Online hospitality service Airbnb has revealed that it is in talks with local authorities and ministries to collect tourism tax on behalf of its hosts and guests in Malaysia

Image via Prevue Meetings

In a media briefing today, 25 November, Airbnb head of public policy of Southeast Asia Mich Goh said that the company has had "meaningful conversations" with the Finance and Tourism Ministries as well as the Royal Malaysian Customs Department to implement its Voluntary Collection Agreement (VCA) tool to that effect. 

Goh explained that the VCA, a tool designed by Airbnb to collect and remit taxes on behalf of its host and guest community, has been conducted in other countries

Image via Reuters

She said that the company hopes to be able to implement VCA in Malaysia as well, adding that it will "help to facilitate a streamlined process and lighten the administrative burden for local and state governments, as well as [Airbnb] hosts."

The potential implementation of tourism tax on Airbnb properties in Malaysia is expected to follow the existing mechanism applied to hotels

The tourism tax, which came into effect in September last year, charges a flat rate of RM10 per room per night for foreigners who stay at hotels of all classes. As such, locals renting Airbnbs will probably be exempt from having to pay the tax. 

However, Goh added that there is no time frame for the implementation of the VCA yet as the discussion is still "ongoing". 

Goh also revealed that Malaysia is the fastest growing market for Airbnb in Southeast Asia, having recorded a 99% year-on-year growth in guest arrivals in the past year

According to New Straits Times, the Airbnb host community in Malaysia has welcomed more than two million guests in the past year. 

She added that there are now 44,000 listings in Malaysia on Airbnb, marking an almost 60 per cent year-on-year increase.

Do you think the tourism tax should be implemented on Airbnb properties in Malaysia? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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