Believe it or not, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department has confirmed that Malaysia will start imposing its tourism tax from 1st August 2017.

What is this tourism tax they speak of?


According to the details published on their website, tourism tax is a tax charged at a specific rate on a tourist staying at any accommodation premises provided by an operator of the said accommodation premises. It will be collected from various premises used as accommodation for tourists except homestays and kampung stays, premises that are maintained by religious institutions not for commercial purposes, and accommodation premises with fewer than 10 rooms.

Tax rates start from RM2.50 per room per night at a non-rated accommodation to RM20 per room per night at a 5-star accommodation.


Who is a tourist?

According to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, “tourist” means any person, whether he is a Malaysian national or otherwise, visiting any place in Malaysia for pleasure, recreation or holiday; culture; religion; visiting friends or relatives; sports; business; meetings, conferences, seminars or conventions; studies or research; any other purpose which is not related to an occupation that is remunerated from the place visited.

This means that the tourism tax will affect both Malaysians who are travelling within Malaysia as well as foreigners regardless of the purpose of the trip. Keep in mind that this is on top of service charge (10%) and GST (6%).

Finally, where will all the returns from the tourism tax collected go?

According to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, 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”. It will also 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”.


Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Royal Malaysian Customs Department.

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