Malaysians want Airbnb to stay put amid calls for regulation

  • Asia & Oceania
  • Tuesday, 30 Apr 2019

A majority of Malaysians want the Airbnb model to remain in the country. - AFP

A majority of Malaysians support the short term accommodation (STA) model as a way to grow tourism in the country, according to the findings of a new study.

Key statistics from the Airbnb-commissioned research include 89% of Malaysians supporting short-term rental, and over 77% seeing short-term rental as a way of earning additional income or starting their own business.

Airbnb public policy head (South-East Asia) Mich Goh said the study reinforces that Malaysians want the choice of renting out their properties in a “respectful and responsible manner”.

“They see that short-term rental helps locals earn extra income and gives travellers greater and more affordable choice. Most importantly, it’s helping to grow tourism – a key pillar of the Malaysian economy,” she said in a statement.

Globally, the Airbnb platform has allowed its host community to earn over US$65bil (RM267bil) by renting out their homes.

Malaysians want that form of economic empowerment as well and 89% of Malaysians support short-term rental.

Malaysians are of the opinion that Airbnb diversifies tourism into neighbourhoods outside traditional tourist areas (74%) and attract long-term travellers to the country (70%).

In Malaysia, travel stakeholders and hoteliers remain critical of the short-term rental model. The Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH), Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) and Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) all cite tax leakage and uneven playing field for registered operators.

The study comes following a report by StarLifestyle recently which revealed that the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) will be submitting a regulatory framework of STA soon to the Government.

Some proposed measures include a cap on allowable rental days, approval from the Joint Management Body (JMB) or Management Committee (MC) in strata properties and a revision of existing laws.

Half of the respondents say they want a national set of guidelines. The research revealed that national guidelines are the preferred regulation method for the majority of respondents (50%), over other methods including building and community regulations (26%), and state and local regulations (24%).

“It is clear that Malaysians want a clear and consistent national approach for short term rental regulations. Clear and sensible guidance at a national level streamlines regulatory efforts for the various states providing the host community greater clarity and certainty,” she said.

Goh added that Airbnb will continue to work collaboratively with the MPC on developing fair new rules that would further empower locals, grow tourism, and strengthen local communities.

The study was conducted in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Sabah across 880 respondents.

Also read: Airbnb: Rental cap hurts tourism in Malaysia

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