KUALA LUMPUR: It’s official Malaysia’s new tourism tax will be effective 1 September at a flat rate of MYR10 (USD2.33) a night. Malaysians and permanent residents are exempt. Foreign tourists will be charged a flat rate of RM10 per room regardless of the accommodation category. However the Ministry of Tourism clarified that homestays and ‘kampung’ stays registered with the Ministry will not collect the tax, according to The Star Online. The Tourism and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, said that the tax would earn around MYR210 million in revenue annually.
Some of the tax revenue will be used to fund promotions for the tourism industry and strategic projects that will lift the country’s tourism image. Commenting to The Star Online the Minister said, 3,200 accommodation providers had registered with the Finance Ministry for the tourism tax. The tax caused a heated debate in tourism and political circles mainly due to the constant revisions and delays on setting the timeframe to introduce the tax, the cost to travellers and a long list of exemptions.