Selangor rejects federal tourism tax

Elizabeth-Wong-tourismSHAH ALAM: Selangor is opposed to the tourism tax to be implemented by the federal government, saying it feared negative effects on the state’s economy.

Elizabeth Wong, the exco for tourism, environment, green technology and consumer affairs, said the tax was untimely because of the growing national tourism industry and high inflation.

“A tax now could risk dampening economic activities and harming incomes, particularly players in the hotel and hospitality industry which contribute to the growth in the tourism industry.

“Secondly, the tax would escalate costs of vacations, such as accommodation, tour packages, group outings and transport.

“Thirdly, it would impact room rates and jeopardise tourist arrivals to Selangor,” she said in replying to Balakong assemblyman Ng Tien Chee in the state assembly.

The tax, ranging from RM2.50 to RM20 per room-night, was supposed to have come into effect on July 1 but has been put off indefinitely after heavy criticisms by Sarawak, Sabah and industry players.

The Tourism Tax Act 2017 was passed by the Dewan Rakyat last April.

Wong said Selangor had not yet received any official notification on implementation of the tax from either the federal government or the customs department.

She said Selangor had proposed to the federal government to carry out a more thorough study on the tax, especially its effects on the entire tourism industry chain.

“Short-sighted policies will not succeed,” she added.