By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By TMR
Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Cik said the government has collected RM146 million from the tax from September last year until June this year.
“Through the study, the ministry learnt that the implementation of tourism tax in developed countries namely the US, the Netherlands, Italy, Singapore and Indonesia — has proven to be positive in the longterm,” Muhammad Bakhtiar told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
The Pakatan Harapan-led administration has completed its revision on the implementation of the tourism tax in the country.
He was responding to MP Khoo Poay Tiong (Pakatan Harapan-Kota Tinggi) who asked the government to state its position on tourism tax, which was introduced by the previous Barisan Nasional administration.
Muhammad Bakhtiar added that the existing tax structure will remain, as it is only applicable for foreigners.
“We do not have plans to increase the (tax) amount as it is the same in most foreign countries like in Europe,” he explained.
Foreigners are charged RM10 flat per room per night in any accommodation premises nationwide, while Malaysians are exempted from it.
The deputy minister also said the tax is beneficial for the development of tourism industry, hence countries like Saudi Arabia and Japan are also planning to introduce it.
“It will have a positive impact on the tourism industry through continued financial support to promote and upgrade the infrastructure of tourism, art and culture products,” he said.
The ministry, according to Muhammad Bakhtiar, has not received any complaints from foreign tourists on the matter.
The previous government had set an annual tourism tax collection of RM210.96 million, based on an average occupancy rate of 60% from a total of 237,391 rooms in accommodation premises registered under the ministry.
Homestay and Kampungstay operators registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry will be exempted from imposing bed tax, involving 201 homestay clusters which are managed by 3,901 operators.
Also exempted from the tax would be accommodation premises with five rooms, or fever. Malaysia received 25.94 million tourists last year, contributing RM82.2 billion in tourist receipts to the country’s revenue.