Press Statement on Malaysia Budget 2023

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

Airbnb applauds the Government’s unwavering commitment to protecting the rakyat’s well-being and driving greater economic resilience through targeted medium and long-term measures. We believe that this will support and future-proof Malaysia’s economy in a critical time of recovery, and spur efforts towards a more sustainable future.

The ongoing travel rebound presents new opportunities for local communities to benefit from and participate in the country’s economic recovery*. Notably, earnings for Airbnb Hosts in non-urban destinations across Malaysia increased by approximately a third in the second quarter of 2022, compared to the same period in 2019**, facilitating a more inclusive and equitable dispersal of tourism beyond popular tourist routes. 

As a partner to the Malaysian Government, Airbnb is committed to continue working hand in hand to rejuvenate the tourism industry by driving domestic travel and positioning Malaysia as an attractive digital nomad hub in the region. We will continue to execute on our strategic partnership with the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation to further the country’s green agenda, and support our local Host community and short-term rental accommodation partners.

Airbnb has shared several proposals ahead of the Budget announcement for the Government’s consideration, including:

  • Establish a clear and practical national regulatory framework for short term rental accommodation (STRA): Airbnb calls on the government to recognise STRA activities and enforce a clear, coherent and consistent national STRA framework. A recent Airbnb survey revealed that almost 60 percent of Hosts in Malaysia utilize their earnings from hosting to cover increasing costs of living including rising expenses for food and other necessities**. Introducing a clear STRA regulatory framework drives the next level of growth for the STRA sector, and recognises local micro tourism entrepreneurs and the broader industry as key contributors to the country’s economy.
  • Include Airbnb STRA hosts in key incentives provided to traditional tourism players: To ensure that all tourism accommodation players benefit from government incentives, Airbnb requests that several key incentives – currently only dedicated to traditional players in the tourism sector – be extended to STRA hosts (both individuals and SMEs).
  • Introduce green incentives for the tourism industry: The tourism industry plays a crucial role in supporting the government’s aspiration to achieve net-carbon neutrality by 2050. Airbnb encourages the government to introduce green incentives, such as special grants to travel operators to reduce their carbon footprint, to accelerate the adoption of green practices among industry players and position Malaysia as an appealing ecotourism destination.

We strongly hope that the initiatives tabled in Budget 2023 will benefit all tourism industry players – including our community of Malaysian Hosts, many of whom are everyday Malaysians and micro-hospitality entrepreneurs. We stand ready as a committed partner to the government to create and implement solutions that support the travel and tourism economy, towards spurring greater revitalization of the tourism industry.

*New Airbnb data shows how tourism has dispersed post-pandemic, benefiting rural off-the-beaten-path communities in Malaysia

**Airbnb survey of Hosts and guests