Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun is all for allowing Airbnb hosts to operate in the state.
Calling for them to be given a piece of the tourism pie, Masidi said the authorities should find ways to regulate the industry, as there was no way of stopping people from actually opening new Airbnbs.
He was referring to current laws in the state which consider Airbnb illegal.
"My personal opinion is that, sooner or later, the local authorities need to come up with a win-win situation to regulate the industry.
"We should look at a way to regulate it rather than just giving a flat no. There is no way to stop Airbnbs. For every single operator caught, there will be 20 to 30 others (coming up)" he said to reporters after launching a digital tourism workshop organised by the Sabah Tourism Board on Tuesday, 23 January.
Airbnb is an online platform that allows people to lease out or book their residential property for a short period of stay.
However, because the Kota Kinabalu City Hall considers Airbnb activities as a lodging house, Airbnb operators must apply for a licence.
Airbnb is also only allowed on lands zoned for commercial or commercial mixed use. Operating on residential-zoned lands is strictly prohibited.
Airbnb operators would also need to comply with strict fire laws and requirements.