Over 7 in 10 say Airbnb has a positive impact on Penang’s local community

 In light of Penang’s new short-term rental guidelines, Airbnb says it will continue to work with local authorities, strata buildings and Hosts to encourage responsible hosting

Following the Penang government’s announcement of new local guidelines for short-term rental accommodation (STRA), Airbnb today reiterated the importance of STRA for the growth of state-level and national tourism.

The global hospitality platform encouraged Joint Management Bodies (JMBs) and Management Committees (MCs) of local strata buildings to consider the long-term economic benefits of STRA, when implementing their own guidelines at an individual building level. 
According to a latest Clearpath Strategies survey commissioned by Airbnb, there continues to be overwhelming support for STRA in the state. Over 7 in 10 (74 percent) Penangites polled said that renting out homes through Airbnb has a positive impact on their community and its residents*.

Penangites support using STRA for hosting and travel

Notably, 75 percent of Penang residents polled agreed that short-term rental accommodation should be allowed to take place in surplus vacant apartments, to tackle the property overhang in areas including Penang, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. According to statistics from the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC), Penang has the third-highest number of overhang or unsold residential properties in Malaysia as of end 2022, with 3,593 units valued at RM2.74 billion**. 

Affordability remains a top priority for Penangites when it comes to travel, with locals polled saying their top concern remains the rising costs of living which are making it harder for people to afford travel*.

Looking ahead, Airbnb is seeing strong growing interest among Penangites to host or be a guest on Airbnb. The survey revealed that 68 percent of Penangites polled are looking to book stays with the platform, while more than half (57 per cent) intend to host on Airbnb in the next year. Over 70 per cent polled said they have traveled with, and/or hosted with Airbnb*.

Looking ahead to national STRA guidelines

Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said that the latest survey results underscore the increasingly important role that STRA plays as tourism sees a strong rebound across the region, especially in tourism hotspots like Penang.

“At the national level, the federal government is developing STRA guidelines that all states can look towards. This may enable more Malaysians to both contribute and benefit from tourism through home sharing. We are committed to working with local authorities to support and educate our Hosts on responsible hosting, by utilizing our industry-first Malaysia STRA Code of Conduct and Neighbourhood Support Line.”

Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan

“I strongly encourage all strata buildings to decide whether or not to regulate STRA, and how they choose to do so. We know that the government’s guidelines are suggestions for JMBs, and that strata buildings can implement their own STRA by-laws under the national Strata Management Act.

From my experience, noise and nuisance issues in strata buildings can be resolved through effective JMB management instead of by-laws that aim to reduce STRA activity. My JMB introduced a dedicated resident lift, fines for non-compliance, a hotline for complaints and homeowners group chats where owners can amicably share and resolve issues. It has truly been a win-win situation for homeowners, residents and guests.”

Michael Goh Boon Tat, former JMB Chairman for Penang condominium Tropicana @ 218 Macalister

“As someone who visits Penang often for medical treatment, short-term rental is the most ideal for me. I usually go for apartments on Airbnb that are close to established hospitals, and provide the amenities that my family and I need. We usually stay for more than a week as I need to rest post-treatment. I’m genuinely worried about the 3-day restriction on short-term rentals that the Penang government is suggesting, because this will definitely complicate any future medical visits.”

Pak Hendry, a frequent traveler to Penang from Medan, Indonesia

*Based on data from a ClearPath Strategies survey commissioned by Airbnb, that polled 1,267 respondents in Malaysia between 8 February – 2 March 2023

**The Edge, March 2023