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New daily hotel fee plan but Sabah can opt out
Published on: Sunday, September 04, 2016
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Kuala Lumpur: Matta is against a proposed tourism service fee of between RM5 and RM30 to be imposed on hotel rooms to raise revenue and promote tourism.However, Sabah and Sarawak have a choice of whether to implement the plan once approved.

"They (Sabah and Sarawak) can opt to join but will not receive any money from the Ministry if they decide not to," said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Nazri said they were in the process of engaging with industry players and have started meetings.

"It is similar to how local councils can impose a tax on hotels. We can use it to promote the country's tourism.

The industry players have given their opinions and also welcomed the idea," he said.

"If implemented, it will be imposed on all hotels and accommodations, except for rural home-stay premises which are considered a poverty reduction programme," he added.

"Others, including apartment buildings that rent out units to tourists like Airbnb will also be charged.

Matta Inbound Vice-President Datuk K.L Tan said the association was against the move.

Tan said the implementation would see a six to 12 per cent increase in hotel charges with the cost transferred to guests, prompting holidaymakers to opt for cheaper destinations.

"With the extra RM30 charge for a five-star hotel, it means RM90 (for an average three-night stay.

Not forgetting the Goods and Services Tax of six per cent and airfare).

"It's easy to see why, even domestic tourists, initially planning a trip to Sabah and Sarawak, will flock to Vietnam or Indonesia instead," he said.

The Edge Financial Daily reported that a fee would be imposed on Sept 16. It cited sources, claiming guests would be charged RM30 for each night's stay at a five-star hotel, RM20 at a four-star hotel and RM10 at a three-star facility.

The fee per night will be RM5 for a two-star, one-star and Orchid category.

Tan said the move was ill-timed as the Industry was just recovering after a drastic drop in tourist arrivals following the twin Malaysia Airlines tragedies in 2014.

"We are just about to see a tourist rebound, particularly from the China market which is price-sensitive.

They are likely to go somewhere else because of this," he said. Tan said tourist arrivals between January and June this year grew 3.7 per cent year-on-year from 12.57 million to 13.03 million.

Chinese tourist arrivals increased 32.1 per cent from the corresponding period last year.

The fees will be charged in addition to other fees or taxes levied such as those levied in Malacca, Penang and Langkawi.


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