KUALA LUMPUR: There is no ban on short-term rental accommodation (STRA) on Penang island, says hosting service provider Airbnb.
Airbnb public policy head for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Mich Goh said the Penang Island City Council’s guidelines released last month were only to regulate STRAs on the island.
She said that if implemented by joint management bodies and management corporations in strata buildings, the guidelines would restrict accommodation options for travellers and the duration of their stay.
“What essentially happened is that the Penang government announced the guidelines to regulate short-term rentals.
“These guidelines and suggestions are meant to advise buildings and local councils on how to regulate short-term rental activities,” she said at a press briefing here.
However, Goh warned that these restrictions will still affect tourism in Penang and called for the regulations to be “fair and balanced” to ensure the long-term growth of the tourism sector.
“We will continue working hand-in-hand with the government to share best practices as the upcoming national STRA guidelines are developed.
“(We) will work with local authorities to support and educate our hosts on responsible hosting.”
Last month, FMT reported that Penang had effectively banned STRAs at residential units on the island, except for serviced apartments, small office home offices, small office flexible offices, small office virtual offices, office suites, and duplex offices.
Those planning to offer STRA in the commercial categories must obtain the approval of their respective management bodies with a 75% “yes” vote from other residents at an annual general meeting.
Meanwhile, operators of existing STRA in apartments or condominiums on the mainland must register with the Seberang Perai City Council and comply with regulations similar to those governing commercial outlets.
In February, local government development minister Nga Kor Ming said his ministry was working on comprehensive STRA guidelines that will be adopted by all local governments in the country.