Operators of unlicensed hotels, AirBnB told to register or face legal action


PETALING JAYA: Operators of unlicensed hotels and AirBnB have been urged to register immediately with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry or face legal action.

Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said delays in registering would possibly open up operators to stern action from the ministry and local authorities.

“We urge all the operators involved to immediately register with the ministry to avoid legal action taken against them under the Tourism Industry Act 1992.

“The ministry is also actively tracking down operators who are unlicensed and we are advising them to register with us,” said Mohamaddin after meeting the Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) at his office in Putrajaya on Thursday (Feb 14).

On AirBnB, Mohamaddin said his ministry has held discussions with the Housing and Local Government Ministry on implementing conditions on the business.

AirBnB is an online booking platform that allows people to rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests.  

“Just like how hotel operators have to register their business, AirBnB also has to go through the same process, which is to register with the ministry and apply for a business licence from the local authorities.

“For that purpose, the ministry is now in discussions with the Housing and Local Government Ministry to identify a new mechanism for business registration for AirBnB operators nationwide,” he said.

The Star had previously highlighted calls for the authorities to draw up rules for AirBnB to solve the problems plaguing the tourism industry, particularly those faced by licensed hotel operators.

On Tuesday (Feb 12), The Star reader YS Chan, through a letter to the editor, said there was a need to regulate businesses such as AirBnB, and suggested that it hold meetings with the Malaysian Association of Hotels and the MyBHA to whip out a joint agreement on how to regulate room-renting in private dwellings.

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