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Malaysia enforces new tourism tax for holiday-makers

A new tourism tax has been enforced in Malaysia that will see foreign tourists pay a flat rate per room per night at hotels across the country. The RM10 ($2.30) flat rate will apply to all hotels in the country, from budget to luxury, but it will not be applied to properties with five rooms of less, homestays and village stays. Domestic tourists will be exempt from the tax.

Malaysia enforces new tourism tax for holiday-makers

A controversial new tourism tax has been enforced in hotels across Malaysia. The tax applies to foreign tourists visiting hotels in the country, from budget properties to luxury resorts.

The tax was originally going to be determined by the hotel rating, but the Tourism and Culture Minister of Malaysia, Nazri Aziz, announced that it would be a flat rate of RM10 ($2.30) per night, per room.

During a speech in parliament, Mr Aziz said:

“We will impose a RM10 flat rate from five-star to zero-star hotels for foreign tourists.”

The tourism tax will not apply to properties with five or less rooms, homestays or village stays. Domestic tourists will not have to pay the tax, after it was thought that it would discourage them from visiting the country.

Hoteliers in Malaysia have voiced mixed opinions about the new tax, with some saying it will discourage foreigners from taking longer stays in the country. Others, like the Executive Marketing and Communications Officer for Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH), Hazzriq Shah, say:

“It’s a relief locals are not being taxed, but we’re still against the idea of hotels as a tax collector.”

Mr Aziz added that the collected tax could amount to RM654.62 million (US$147.47 million) if the overall occupancy rate for Malaysia’s 11 million “room nights” averages at 60 percent. This money will then be used to develop and improve the country’s tourism industry.

Malaysia is a country in South East Asia that is divided into two parts by the South China Sea: Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia.East Malaysia is land bordered by Indonesia and Brunei, while Peninsula Malaysia is bordered on land by Thailand.

The capital of the country is Kuala Lumpur which is located in Peninsula Malaysia. The vibrant city has a modern skyline with skyscrapers and landmarks including the Petronas Twin Towers, but the historic British colonial-era parts remain, such as the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

The country is home to tropical landscapes, from white sand beaches, to dense jungles and rainforests. Some of Malaysia’s most popular attractions include Mount Kinabalu, a UNESCO-listed mountain; the Batu Caves where visitors can walk through a series of caves and cave temples along a limestone hill; and Borneo, an island that is divided by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, and is home to rainforests and diverse wildlife including Bornean Orangutans and elephants. 

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