PETALING JAYA: Travel operators who secured hotel bookings for foreign tourists before the implementation of the tourism tax will be exempted from paying the levy, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
Nazri said these travel operators will not have to cover the cost of the tax which was not included in booking agreements.
“But from March 2018, they will have to charge the RM10 tourism tax. It is compulsory,” he said after launching Malaysia Business Events Week 2017.
The tourism tax, which came into effect on Sept 1, imposed a RM10 flat rate per room per night on foreign tourists boarding at hotels, inns, rest houses and motels.
Nazri said the tax was a necessary burden to ensure the well-being of the tourism sector against the backdrop of allocation cutbacks.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang had expressed concerns its members would have to absorb the tourism tax as it was not included in booking agreements for next year.
“Many of our members have contracts with local hotels and overseas tour operators for hotel rooms until March 31, 2018 without the tourism tax,” said Tan in a statement last week.
He added that many MATTA members were affected in various degrees with the implementation of the tourism tax and a survey is under way to gather their feedback.
Tan said an industry-wide report on the impact of the new tax would be handed over to the Government after the results of the survey were collated so action could be taken to help MATTA members.
“We are of the view that the intention of the tax was meant to eventually benefit all stakeholders and those initially affected by its introduction should be assisted by the Government,” he added.