Malaysia Imposes a Tourism Tax

The Malaysian parliament on April 6 passed a Tourism Tax Bill levied on tourists at any accommodations and hotels made available by an operator at the rate fixed by the minister in accordance with the law. This is the 2nd country after Iceland in a week to increase taxes on tourists.

All tourists to the country are bound by the duty to pay the Tourism Tax to the operator of the accommodation premises.

In an interview by Bernama, the Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri said that “the Tourism Tax would be collected from all types of premises used as accommodation for tourists, except homestay and Kampung Stay registered under the ministry, premises managed by institutions (education), premises used for training purposes and religious institutions where such facilities are not used for commercial purposes.”

He also added that the Tourism Tax collected can “provide a sustainable fund to develop the tourism industry and ensure tourism becomes even more competitive.”


President of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), Mr Cheah Swee Hee,  expressed his concerns that the tax could create an uneven playing field between the licensed and unlicensed hotel operators.

“The new tax may drive local and foreign tourists into seeking accommodation at places such as Airbnb and unlicensed hotels,” he said, adding that these were not regulated by the law.”

While Ann and I have always been to Malaysia for our quick getaways, we are not sure how this tax is going to affect us and our wallets. The only way to circumvent this law is probably to book our accommodations via Airbnb or crash at our Malaysian pals homes. 🙂

What do you guys think of the law? Is it a progressive tax or a regressive one?

Share us your thoughts.

featured photo by Adam
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  • Amity says:

    I’ve read that the tax will be implemented in sep and will be dependent on the hotels rating, 5star hotel at rm30 and that airbnb might be charged as well depending on the outcome. Not sure on the accuracy thou.

    I will agree to your point on staying at our mys-ian folks house, and if needed, i will rather give the money to them than the gov, doesnt make any sense to me when we are already paying the hotel gst and service charge (service charge is dependent on hotel). furthermore i dont really like the reason they gave for imposing the tax. It sounded to me that they are taxing because it is another source to make money but no examples given on how to help boost their tourism.
    even their people seems clueless on the implementation.

    you never know, it might be temporary if the gov sees the money gain is not as expected or permanent because people on business trips are still making their way to mys and foreigner are still visiting taking into consideration on the exchange rate and the tax amount.

  • Martijn. S says:

    Hi Amity,

    Thank you for your comment and insights.
    We also read about the tax being implemented is dependent on the number of stars of the hotel.

    We also hope this is not a permanent tax cause we travel often to Malaysia.

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