The Sun Daily, Photo Credit to The Sun Daily
clock 24-01-2019
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Need for Regulation of Businesses Like Airbnb: MAH

There is a need to regulate the home-sharing business before it undermines the hospitality industry and the property sector, according to the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH).

MAH CEO Yap Lip Seng said this business model concept could exist with mainstream hotels, but it must be regulated in a similar way to how the authorities monitor ride-sharing operators.

"It becomes a risk not just to the hospitality players but also to the communities where such services are provided in housing estates, apartments and condominium blocks if it operates entirely out of the system," said Yap to theSun.

It was reported that Malaysia welcomed more than two million home-sharing guests over the last year and is said to be the fastest growing market for Airbnb in the region with over 44,000 forms of accommodation listings.

"What we are striving for is industrial harmony, where systems are in place for a reason, and the stake holders play their role for betterment of the entire industry and not just themselves. We are in the age of sustainable tourism, where society as a whole benefits, not just small groups," Yap said.

"The home-sharing model of today has deviated from its initial objective of providing alternative accommodations when the traditional ones are full. At this point it's mostly commercial at the expense of genuine innkeepers (hoteliers) out there.

"And when such rentals are not licensed fully, there is no way of keeping tabs on their activities including when compiling tourism arrival statistics."

Unlicensed home-sharing operations could threaten the quality of living for high-rise residents as the constant movement of guests checking in and out of neighboring premises could be disruptive, Yap pointed out.

Such properties could also be left in a dilapidated condition and become an eye sore to the neighbours, he added.

Yap said with 25.9 million tourist arrivals recorded in 2017, the occupancy rate should be high but in reality, member hotels achieved less than 60% average occupancy.

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