Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sabah and Sarawak could ask for higher share of tourism tax

Need for speed: Tourists experiencing the thrill of the region’s
first jet boat ride service in Tanjung Aru.


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and Sarawak may seek a more equitable share of the tourism tax collected from foreigners visiting Malaysia.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said both states had been carrying their own tourism promotions over the years.

“We have done this at our own cost and I hope this will be taken into account in the division of the revenue from the tourism tax,” he said after launching the Smart Hero jet boat service in Tanjung Aru near here yesterday.

Masidi said he would be discussing the matter soon with his Sarawak counterpart Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah over the phone.

It was earlier reported that revenue from the tax, expected to be in place by Aug 1, would be shared equally between Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.

Sabah, said Masidi, was appreciative of the Tourism and Culture Ministry’s move to only impose the tax on foreign visitors, adding that this was also its common stand with Sarawak.

However, he said the ministry should consider the RM10 flat rate per room per night only for tourists staying at four- and five-star hotels.

“It should consider a RM5 flat rate for those staying in hotels rated three stars and below.

“Such a tax will be easy to collect as well,” said Masidi, adding that both Sabah and Sarawak had agreed that the tax should not impede the industry which was sensitive to changes.

On Wednesday, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz said the tax would apply to all hotel categories.

However, it will not be applicable for premises with four rooms or less, homestays and village stays.

The tax had previously met with resistance from Sabah and Sarawak, which were seeking a deferment on its implementation.

Earlier, Masidi also launched the region’s first jet boat thrill ride.
The 15-minute jet boat ride will take passengers to waters near the Tengku Abdul Rahman marine park islands, allowing them to experience a 360-degree spin.

Operated by Smart Hero (Malay­sia) Bhd, the rides are similar to those offered at various rivers and lakes in New Zealand and other countries.
The jet boats can accommodate up to 12 passengers and tickets cost RM150 each.

-thestar online.

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