WITH the tourism sector back in full swing, the Penang government will resume collecting hotel room fees from July 1.
Depending on the type of hotel they are staying in, guests will have to pay RM2 or RM3 per night.
The state government stopped collecting the fees for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
State tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said Penang had carried out various initiatives to help tourism industry players during the pandemic, including waiving the fees from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022.
“Prior to the pandemic, the state government collected more than RM5mil in hotel room fees every year.
“As Malaysia’s international borders are now open, bringing an influx of tourists into Penang, the time is right to resume collection of the hotel room fees.
“Hoteliers in the state are supportive of the move as well,” he said in a press conference.
Yeoh said the hotel room fee collection was important as a source of revenue, helping the state in the promotion and marketing of tourism activities.
“I do not think tourists will have an issue with it as the fee is the same as before the pandemic,” he said.
Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chapter chairman Tony Goh, who was at the press conference, said its members were in favour of the move.
“We don’t think the move will burden hotel guests.
“This move is necessary as we can use the money to better promote Penang as the preferred tourism destination worldwide,” he reasoned.
Penang Hoteliers Association chairman Datuk Lim Mee Lee hoped that the money collected would be used to further enhance the state’s tourism sector.
The collection of hotel room fees started in 2014.
Guests paid RM3 per night at hotels rated four stars and above, and RM2 per night at hotels rated three stars and below including dormitories, budget hotels, hostels and boarding houses.
Yeoh also announced a collaboration between IHG Hotels and Resorts (IHG) and Tradewinds Corporation Bhd, a leading hotel owner, to upgrade and reopen the former Penang Mutiara Beach Resort in Teluk Bahang.
“This shows that investors have confidence in Penang despite the pandemic.
“The resort will provide new economic possibilities and generate more jobs,” added Yeoh.
Penang Mutiara Beach Resort was a five-star luxury resort that closed down in 2006.
Goh said the association was excited to see a new international hotel in the state.
It was reported that the resort would be rebranded as InterContinental Penang Resort.
Set to open in 2025, the new luxury resort will feature 355 rooms and suites, a private enclave of six villas and a holistic wellness village with 10 treatment villas and a relaxation pavilion.