Airbnb: Ban on short-term rentals would damage Penang’s economic recovery and growth


Penang’s tourism recovery and growth, as well as the livelihoods of everyday Malaysian Hosts, would be gravely affected if the state’s proposed restrictions on high-rise residential short-term rental accommodation (STRA) is implemented, Airbnb warned today.

Following more than two years of economic disruption in Penang brought on by the pandemic, this proposal risks derailing recent recovery efforts, damaging Penangites’ livelihoods and putting jobs at risk at an incredibly critical juncture.

Tourism revitalisation is an especially vital concern for locals in Penang where the tourism and services sector contributes to almost half of the state’s GDP. A recent survey commissioned by Airbnb* found:

  • 60 percent of Penangites believe that short-term rental accommodation increases tourism revenue for their communities
  • 58 percent of Penangites view fellow locals renting out their homes through Airbnb as having an overall positive impact
  • 52 percent of Penangites believe overall that short-term rental accommodation drives benefits not only for Hosts but also businesses in the community
  • 80 percent of Penangites agree that people should be allowed to use surplus vacant apartments in states like Penang as short-term rentals, in order to combat the property overhang

As of last year, Penang ranks among the top most-searched local destinations for long-term stays by Malaysian guests on Airbnb. Penang is also a popular destination for Malaysians following the return of interstate travel, being one of the top five most searched destinations on Airbnb immediately after travel restrictions were relaxed.

“With tourism playing such a crucial role in Penang’s economy, imposing such ill-considered restrictions on short-term rental accommodation (STRA) in high-rise residential buildings would negatively impact the state’s recovery momentum and long-term tourism growth. If introduced, these rules would likely impact jobs and supplemental income for tens of thousands of everyday people in Penang, and ultimately hurt local businesses and communities by making it harder for Penang to remain competitive and attract tourists,” said Mich Goh, Head of Public Policy, Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Airbnb. “Given this proposal’s potential to damage locals’ livelihoods, it’s also disappointing that there has been no formal consultation process with the public nor industry stakeholders in Penang to date.

“Our team continues to work diligently with the goal of each stay being a positive experience for Hosts, guests and the wider community. This includes continuing to enforce our global party ban, as well as last year’s local rollout of our 24/7 Neighbourhood Support Line. We have also previously partnered with the Malaysian Vacation Rental Services Management Association to launch an industry-led Code of Conduct aimed at championing responsible hosting.”

Airbnb is strongly urging the Penang state government to reconsider its current proposal, and look to existing mechanisms under the Strata Management Act instead. Specifically, the government should let individual Joint Management Bodies (JMBs) and Management Corporations (MCs) decide whether to enact additional STRA by-laws or restrictions. This empowers residents to decide if and how STRA should be run in their buildings.

Airbnb remains committed to being a constructive and collaborative partner to governments to help ensure sensible and balanced rules can be implemented that deliver positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

*NOTE: Based on a ClearPath Strategies survey conducted amongst 1,020 Malaysians between December 23, 2021 to January 14, 2022.

  1. AirBnBoob
    April 29th, 2022 at 21:09 | #1

    ” A recent survey commissioned by Airbnb* found:
    60 percent of Penangites believe…….58 percent of Penangites view……..52 percent of Penangites believe……80 percent of Penangites agree ……”

    And then you read the footnote …….”*NOTE: Based on a ClearPath Strategies survey conducted amongst 1,020 Malaysians between December 23, 2021 to January 14, 2022.”

    1020 MALAYSIANS???????? A sample size of 1020 out of the total adult population in Msia statistically means it’s TOTALLY insignificant. In other words, the survey is rubbish, probably consist of just AirBnB hosts!! Hahahahahaha. Oh boy, so this is Mich Goh’s (AibBnb’s Head of Public Policy, Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan) best shot???

  2. Goppal
    April 29th, 2022 at 21:54 | #2

    yes bro, well said,,, this lady is biasa la, whenever there is any ban on AirBnB this lady will step in… hahahahahaa, i no time to buy her statements

  3. Goppal
    April 29th, 2022 at 21:56 | #3

    she will suddenly appear out of no where, just to protect the AirBnB industry….

    Penang tourism is decades and decades old and that time where got AirBnB, people were enjoying their hotel and resort stay….. the tourism industry were ever booming…

  4. ck_II
    April 29th, 2022 at 22:44 | #4

    xx percent of Penangites…are you sure! Misleading of the survey and false news,
    I believe most of residents not only Penang against Airbnb especially high rise condo/apartement because too many real cases proved AirBnB creating lot of problems to residents. Also lot of investor mis-use the core concept of AirbnB, human basis shelter become the tool for them making money!

  5. Alan
    April 29th, 2022 at 22:55 | #5

    Then? Buy house let you all do airbnb? How management want to control? As long you guys make money, you put the whole building’s resident at risk of having unknown visitors

  6. Alan
    April 29th, 2022 at 22:58 | #6

    Malaysia if change the rules because of this groundless survey. Then houses are not built for citizen wellbeing anymore. It’s basically to help rich get richer. Let the investor from foreign countries to monopolize home ownership to do Airbnb. Yes, this way economy will be good for now. But soon all the Malaysian B40s and M40s will hand-in-hand to commit suicide

  7. Alan
    April 29th, 2022 at 23:00 | #7

    1020 Malaysians. Can you atleast say penangite? Since this is a proposal to Penang state government? Want lie also use brain abit lah. Do more survey la, I will be the first one to support the ban of AirBnb, and I believe I’m not alone

  8. MajorArches
    April 30th, 2022 at 23:21 | #8

    State Goverment tried to regulate airbnbs, ended up just ban them for good. I wonder what the guidelines will be then.

  9. ThePotato
    May 2nd, 2022 at 22:49 | #9

    rilek bro~ chillax

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