Any cap on short-term accommodation (STA) would lead to a cap on tourism growth in the country, said Airbnb.
The company’s public policy head (South-East Asia) Mich Goh said such regulatory approach would only hinder tourism goals and deter travel innovation.
“The most important and pressing issue for Malaysian tourism right now is growth. Simply achieving Malaysia’s bold tourism goals is challenging enough without the added burden of unnecessary red tape. The fact is a cap on short-term rentals would be a cap on growth,” she said.
Despite an increase in tourist expenditure, Malaysia has missed tourist arrivals target for eight years consecutively. Last year, international tourist arrivals dropped 0.4% to 25.8 million from 25.9 million in 2017.
It was previously reported that Airbnb hosts contributed RM200.4mil to the local economy in 2017.
Goh’s comments came following a report by StarLifestyle recently which revealed that the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) will be submitting a regulatory framework of STA soon to the Government. Some proposed measures include a cap on allowable rental days, approval from the Joint Management Body (JMB) or Management Committee (MC) in strata properties and a revision of existing laws.
“Restrictive caps would mean less choice of where to stay for travellers. Less choice means fewer travellers and tourism growth. They would also hurt the Malaysian families, small businesses and communities who depend on short-term rentals,” she said.
According to Goh, restricting allowable rental days is only suitable in cities with legacy housing affordability issues. Malaysia on the other hand, has an oversupply of homes.
Goh added that Airbnb has worked with governments across Asia to develop fair STA rules that helped grow tourism.
“Our experience shows that there does not need to be a trade-off between growing tourism and regulating short-term rentals. By getting the balance right, governments can both grow tourism and fairly regulate short-term rentals,” she concluded.