Airbnb positive of growth in M’sia amid registration drive

DBKL states the need for operators to register by year-end as to determine the exact number in existence


Home sharing platform Airbnb is con dent that the service will continue to grow in Malaysia, despite the requirement from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) that owners or operators who are renting out their properties for short-term stays need to be registered by year-end.

Airbnb South-East Asia head of public policy Mich Goh told The Malaysian Reserve in an email response that Airbnb has worked with hundreds of governments around the world to develop clear and sensible frameworks that sup- port home sharing, while addressing local community needs.

“Malaysia is one of our fastest growing markets in Asia, and we continue to grow because tourists increasingly want new, adventurous and authentic experiences when they travel.

“We believe home sharing is here to stay, and we look forward to continue working closely with the relevant authorities to craft laws, including rules around registration and tourism tax collection,” Goh said.

“(It is) also for them to implement simple, clear and fair regulations that allow home sharing to thrive to Malaysia’s short-and long-term benefit,” she added.

Last month, DBKL released a statement saying owners and operators who are renting out their properties for short-term stays in this country, through services such as Airbnb, need to register by year-end as the local authority is trying to determine the exact number in existence.

The registration is mandatory. DBKL’s licensing and petty traders management department director Anwar Mohd Zain reportedly said it plans to regulate such businesses next year, since there is still no law governing them despite the growing market.

Goh stressed that Airbnbs eventually benefit the local community and should be encouraged.

“The majority of Airbnb hosts share the home in which they live. They (the hosts) are everyday people who open up their homes to travellers to earn a little extra income and pay the bills.

“A typical Malaysian host earns US$1,600 (RM6,240) and because hosts keep 97% of the money, that’s more revenue generated for local communities that do not typically benefit from tourism,” she said.

Previously, Airbnb said its guests visiting Malaysia in 2017 increased by 152% since 2016.

It said 2.6 million Malaysians have travelled using Airbnb in the last three years.

“As for the number of inbound guests to Malaysia, it increased massively over the last three years. In 2015, there were 193,800 guests to Malaysia with Airbnb, which grew to 641,200 in 2016. This year (2017), that number grew again by 152% to 1.3 million,” it said.

Previously, Airbnb said it had 17,270 listings in Malaysia with a growth rate of 130% year-on-year (YoY).

“There has been an inbound guest growth of 248% YoY and an outbound guest growth of 168% YoY,” Airbnb added.