The Ministry of Finance and the Royal Malaysian Customs Department has announced today that they’re introducing a new tourism tax, which will come in the form of an additional nightly fee on all hotel stays. This will go into effect as of August 1, 2017, and will be in addition to the taxes and fees normally charged by hotels in Malaysia, which typically include a 6% tax and 10% service charge.
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
The new tax will be based on the class of hotel you stay at, as follows:
- five star: RM20/room/night
- four star: RM10/room/night
- one, two and three star: RM5/room/night
- one, two and three Orchid: RM2.50/room/night
- non-rated accommodation premises: RM2.50/room/night
So staying at a 5-star hotel will incur a ~5USD nightly tax, a 4-star hotel will incur a ~2.50USD nightly tax, etc.
A stay at the St. Regis Kuala Lumpur would incur a 20RM per night tax
This tax applies to foreigners and nationals alike, and applies regardless of the purpose of your visit. Here are the reasons that the government gives for imposing this tax:
- It is a mechanism of cooperation between the Government and the industry to enhance tourism experience for tourists.
- The returns will be used to develop the tourism industry, namely the enhancement of tourism infrastructure and facilities, as well as tourism promotional activities and campaigns for the country.
- To be used to protect, preserve and conserve Mother Nature, culture and heritage for the benefit of not just the present generation but also the future generation.
While this new tax isn’t huge, hotels in Malaysia are typically reasonably priced to begin with, so as a percentage this new tax isn’t insignificant. I’ll be curious to see how much these taxes actually go towards promoting tourism infrastructure and facilities, rather than just being a way to boost revenue for the government.
(Tip of the hat to LoyaltyLobby)