Airbnb has proposed several policy recommendations to Putrajaya for consideration in order to aid those who had been financially impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Airbnb’s Southeast Asia Head of Public Policy, Mich Goh has proposed for Putrajaya to extend several key incentives dedicated for businesses in the tourism sector under the economic stimulus packages to Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) hosts, both individuals and SMEs.
Airbnb has asked for the postponement of tax instalment payments to affected businesses in the tourism sector beginning April 1 to Dec 31 as well for the RM 1 billion PENJANA Tourism Fund (PTF) facility to finance transformation initiatives in the sector.
According to Airbnb, hosts on the platform currently not entitled to the tax deferment as it is not considered as one of the businesses in the tourism sector as well as due to the activities falling under STRA are yet to be regulated in the country.
The short-term rental company has also urged for a one-off payment of RM600 and personal income tax relief of RM1,000 on expenditure related to domestic tourism until Dec 2021 and digital vouchers of up to RM100 to all Malaysians fo domestics tourism purposes to be enabled for Airbnb bookings.
“We also encourage the government to consider extending the moratorium on loan repayments at least until Dec 2020 and to also consider extending the one-off cash assistance being provided to e-hailing drivers to Airbnb hosts,” said Goh.
Goh pointed out that the extension of the moratorium will provide the necessary relief to the hosts from their financial obligations, especially for those whose income depends largely on the proceeds from the hosting activities on the Airbnb platform.
Since the start of the outbreak, Airbnb had activated their Extenuating Circumstances policy globally, allowing guests and hosts to cancel reservations penalty-free.
“We stand ready as a committed partner to the Malaysian government to create and implement policy solutions to support the travel and tourism economy, together with our Airbnb community,” Goh said.
In total, 4 million guests stayed with Airbnb in Malaysia last year, representing 8.8 million guest nights with an average length of stay in Airbnb accommodations of 2.2 nights. 65 percent of Airbnb guests were domestic.