In June, the Malaysian government announced that it would soon introduce a tax on tourists staying in hotels, billed as the “Tourism Tax”.
According to the government, the tax is meant to generate sustainable funds to support the development of Malaysia’s tourism industry.
The tax was initially meant to be implemented from July 1 onwards, but has since been deferred to a later date, as the Customs Department requires more time to prepare the tax collection mechanism.
Until then, those planning on traveling within Malaysia in the near future will no doubt have questions regarding the tax, so we’ve compiled a list of the most up-to-date answers to any questions you may have.
UPDATE: On July 26, Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz announced that Malaysians are fully exempt from paying the Tourism Tax, which is expected to be implemented from August 1 onwards.
He added that foreign tourists will still have to pay the tax, though the rate has been adjusted to a flat rate of RM10 per night and per room for all types of hotels and accommodations.
“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.
When will the tax be implemented?
Based on local news reports, the tax is scheduled to be implemented from August 1. The confirmed date has yet to be announced.
Who will have to pay the tax?
Only foreign tourists will have to pay the tax.
Those who have already booked their stays through travel agents up until March 2018 will also be exempted.
How much is the tax?
Foreign tourists must pay a flat rate of RM10 per night, per room for all types of accommodation.
The tax is paid to the hotel, which will be collected by the Customs Department, in addition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and any other service charges.
Will accommodations which are not hotels be included under the tax?
The tax will not apply to homestays, kampung stays, premises maintained by religious institutions for non-commercial purposes, premises operated by Federal and state government for non-commercial purposes, and premises with fewer than 10 rooms.
Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz has said that Airbnb operators would also be subject to the tax.
What about states that already have a tourism charge?
Some state governments charge local taxes, such as Melaka’s Heritage Tax, Penang’s Local Government Fee, and Langkawi’s Tourism Promotion Fee.
However, local governments have been asked to stop collection of accommodation-based charges once the Tourism Tax comes into effect.