Ahead of the upcoming Budget 2022 announcement on 29 October, Airbnb applauds the Government’s ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ vision to leave no person or business behind. We believe that this inclusive approach will support the acceleration of post-pandemic economic recovery, particular for those in the tourism industry including our Malaysian Host community.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw domestic and international travel grind to a halt for the past year and a half, with estimated losses of RM165 billion in tourism expenditure this year across the entire sector*. A report by global analytics firm Oxford Economics** found that Airbnb guests in Malaysia had spent a total of RM4.4 billion in the country prior to the pandemic in 2019. This contributed to a significant 2.4% of total tourism spending that year, up from 0.3% in 2015.
As the Movement Control Orders are lifted and Malaysians look forward to resuming travel with their loved ones, the recognition and inclusion of small enterprises and micro-entrepreneurs in tourism efforts will play a significant role towards helping Malaysia achieve its recovery goals.
Airbnb is sharing several recommendations ahead of the Budget announcement for the Government’s consideration, including:
- Recognise and enable the potential of the sharing economy in the hospitality sector: Airbnb calls on the Government to approve the regulatory framework proposed by the Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC). Approving and enforcing a clear, coherent and consistent STRA framework will ensure that the STRA sector can play a role in driving tourism growth and dollars as the country begins to reopen to international travel.
- Adopt an inclusive approach in the formulation and implementation of economic recovery strategies: It is important that STRA Hosts and platforms are included in discussions on tourism reopening, as the country reopens its state borders and gradually resumes overseas travel. This will enable all enterprises, including smaller tourism players, to participate in and drive the acceleration of Malaysia’s post-pandemic recovery. For example, in addition to hotels and homestays, STRA must also be permitted to host guests who have completed their vaccinations.
- Include STRA Hosts in key incentives provided to traditional tourism players: To ensure that all tourism accommodation players can benefit from government incentives, Airbnb calls for several key incentives – currently dedicated only to traditional players in the tourism sector – to be extended to STRA Hosts (both individuals and SMEs).
- Include Airbnb bookings in digital vouchers for domestic tourism: The expansion of this scheme will further boost local tourism and support Malaysian entrepreneurs and communities, as travelers are able to book a wider variety of local accommodation on our platform including the unique stays hosted by Airbnb Hosts.
- Extend moratorium on loan repayments: We encourage the government to consider extending the moratorium on loan repayments until March 2022. As Malaysia slowly begins to open its borders to international tourists, the extension of the moratorium will provide vital relief to STRA hosts, especially for those whose income depends on hosting with Airbnb.
The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis may have upended the status quo, but it reminds us of our fundamental need for connection. The unique ability of travel to connect people, learn from each other, and benefit local entrepreneurs and communities remains unchanged.
Airbnb stands ready as a committed partner to the Malaysian government to create and implement solutions to support the travel and tourism economy and our Airbnb community. We look forward to the tabling of Budget 2022 with the hope that its initiatives will benefit all tourism industry players including our community of Malaysian Hosts, many of whom are everyday Malaysians and micro-hospitality entrepreneurs, towards spurring greater revitalization of the local tourism industry.