KUALA LUMPUR – Airbnb has warned that Malaysia’s tourism recovery could be threatened by talks of the proposed blanket ban on short-term rentals in strata buildings in Penang, Selangor and other states in Malaysia, as reported on Bernama.
Prior to the pandemic, the Airbnb community in Malaysia made a significant contribution to the local tourism industry and economy.
“However, Airbnb’s role in helping kick-start Malaysia’s much-needed tourism recovery could be threatened by the proposed blanket ban on short-term rentals in strata buildings,” it said in a statement on October 15.
Research from Oxford Economics found in 2019 Airbnb guests spent a total of RM4.4 billion (US$1.1 billion) in Malaysia and supported over 52,000 local jobs.
Earlier this year, Airbnb welcomed the Malaysia Productivity Corporation’s new guidelines for short-term accommodation, which provide an opportunity for the government to simultaneously grow tourism and ensure compliance through responsible regulation.
“Airbnb believes all Malaysians should have the choice to responsibly and safely share their own home.
“We are strongly opposed to any unfair and heavy-handed blanket ban on short-term rentals in strata buildings,” said Airbnb’s Southeast Asia head of public policy Mich Goh.
She also said that Malaysians, who live in strata buildings, rely on short-term rentals to earn extra income to pay the bills.
“With economic recovery more important than ever, the key test for any policy must be — does it help grow the economy and create jobs for Malaysians?
“On that test, any proposal to ban short-term rentals in strata buildings fails. Blanket ban would have a devastating impact on the already weakened tourism industry. They threaten thousands of local jobs and the supplemental income that so many regular Malaysians rely on during these crucial times,” she added.
By supporting clear and considered rules for short-term rentals in Malaysia that protect people’s choice to responsibly share their homes, while ensuring joint management bodies and management corporations have appropriate oversight of short-term rentals in their buildings, Airbnb upholds its ongoing commitment to continue partnering with the government and communities to spur tourism recovery.