Malaysia Revises the Implementation of its Tourism Tax

Malaysia’s new tourism tax was due to be introduced on August 1, but rising protests from the travel industry as well as from various Malaysian States have conducted the government to delay again the implementation of the tourism tax as adjustments have been made.

The tax has been revised to a flat fee of RM10 (US$2.35) per room per night for foreigners, said tourism and culture minister Nazri Aziz on Wednesday to local newspapers.

Nazri Aziz explained that the tax, which is levied on accommodation in Malaysia on a per room per night basis, will only be imposed on foreign tourists. Malaysians are exempted from paying the levy. “We will impose a RM10 flat rate from five-star to zero-star hotels for foreign tourists, and Malaysians will be exempted from the tax across all classifications of hotels,” he said in Parliament on Wednesday.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Tan Kok Liang was telling to the Star newspaper that the exemption for domestic travellers would stabilise the local tourism sector. “MATTA has expressed concern over the tourism tax and we are glad that the Government has taken note,” said Tan.

“Also, reducing the tax from RM20 for four- and five-star hotels to RM10 will minimise the adverse impact on the high-end industry.

In an earlier proposal, the tourism tax was to be levied at staggered rates ranging from RM2 to RM20 per night according to the standard of hotel accommodation, with Malaysian tourists having to pay the tax at hotels of three-star quality and below.

However, the tax will not be applicable for premises with five rooms or less, homestays and village stays as it was already announced in the previous version.
The implementation of the new tax is now in the hands of the Prime Minister who will decide when the tax would be officially implemented told the Tourism Minister.
In ASEAN, Myanmar is also planning to levy a tourism tax of one US dollar per night.