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“Airbnb Urges Government to Expand Tourism Opportunities”

Airbnb, an online accommodation platform, has encouraged the government to continue to include small and micro-enterpreneurs (SMEs) participating in the tourism industry in new business models, help packages and aid packages.

To further expand on the current policy steps to help the development of the tourism sector; Airbnb has submitted multiple policy suggestions for consideration to the government to assist small business operators whose financial stability has been jeopardized by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Goh said Airbnb welcomes incentives for the tourism sector in the fourth round of Malaysia’s stimulus package, PENJANA, which includes tourism tax exemption from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, and the PENJANA Tourism Financing (PTF) RM1 billion facility to fund SME transformation initiatives in the tourism industry.

She said given the significant role played by providers of short-term rental accommodation in driving Malaysia’s tourism industry, Airbnb recommends expanding several key incentives dedicated to tourism businesses under the short-term rental accommodation (STRA) economic stimulus packages for providers in both individual and SME categories.

These benefits include postponing tax installment payments to impacted tourism companies, and some allocation from the RM1 billion PTF fund to finance industry transformation initiatives.

Other suggestions include a one-off payment of RM600 and RM1000 personal income tax exemption on domestic tourism expenditure up to December 2021 and digital vouchers of up to RM100 to all Malaysians for domestic tourism purposes to be allowed for Airbnb reservations.

Goh said the government would consider extending the moratorium on loan repayments at least until December 2020, as many affected Airbnb hosts rely on booking revenue to help pay their mortgage. He also said a special incentive allocation is a welcome plan for players in the sharing economy , especially the e-hailing industry.

She said Airbnb is committed to helping the government in weathering this health and economic crisis and taking care of the Malaysian hosts community, many of whom are ordinary citizens and micro-hospitality entrepreneurs, as well as guests.

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