The Penang government is strongly encouraging tourists to stay at licensed premises over banned short-term rental (STR) accommodations, according to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
He said Penang has enough facilities, from star-rated hotels to heritage hotels, homestays and service apartments, to accommodate different types of tourists.
“We encourage tourists to stay at licensed facilities. So, a residential neighbourhood is for residential purposes and we leave it at that. We want to reduce disturbances to residential areas,” Chow said when asked by a reporter whether the ban on Airbnb would affect Penang’s tourism.
Chow was then attending a press conference on the Penang International Food Festival 2023 at The Whiteaways Arcade, Beach Street in George Town today.
He added that licensed hotels rely on tourists to sustain their business operations.
When told that some developers advertised their projects as Airbnb to entice buyers, Chow said the developers could build service apartments that would allow them to operate under Airbnb regulations.
Hoteliers commended MBPP’s move to restrict short-term rental accommodation stays on the island, saying that would give them a level playing field.
As it is, the hoteliers said they have to pay taxes and are required to collect an RM3 local government tax, plus another RM10 tourism tax from foreigners but STRs remain exempt from such levies.
MBPP’s ban covers all private residential properties, but excludes six types of commercial properties: serviced apartments, small office home offices (SoHo), small office flexible offices (SoFo), small office virtual offices (SoVo), office suites and duplex offices.
Those intending to offer short-term rentals in the commercial categories must obtain approval from their respective joint management bodies (JMB) or management corporations (MCs). They are required to secure consent from at least 75% of the property owners at an annual general meeting.
On top of that, each short-term rental unit is limited to a maximum of 180 days of rental per year, with rental activity restricted to three days per week.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang chapter chairman Tony Goh said his association welcomed MBPP’s decision but stressed the importance of effective enforcement of the ban.
He also highlighted the need to address other concerns, such as ensuring compliance with the 180-day rental limit and restrictions on the number of rental days per week.
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