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Langkawi to impose tourist tax

June 21, 2016

Published on Jun 21, 2016

Visitors charged up to MYR9 per night, depending on class of accommodation

Visitors to the Malaysian island of Langkawi will soon be forced to pay a new tourist tax.

Travel Daily AsiaMalaysia's Bernama news agency reports that, effective July 1, 2016, the island's tourism authorities will impose a fee of up to MYR9 (US$2.20) per night on tourists staying on the island.

Mohd Rawi Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Kedah Tourism Committee, told Bernama that the so-called 'Langkawi Tourism Promotion Levy' would depend on the class of accommodation chosen by the visitor.

For example, visitors staying in one- or two-star hotels would be charged just MYR1 per room per night, while three- and four-star accommodation would be charged at MYR3. Five-star hotel guests would be charged MYR5, and those staying in "six- and seven-star" accommodation would be charged MYR7 and MYR9 respectively.

These ratings could get a little confusing however; the top hotels on the island such as the Four Seasons and Datai resorts are generally considered to be five-star hotels, and even belong to the Five Star Alliance. However guests at these hotels are likely to be subject to the highest taxes.

How and where the taxes will be collected was not reported, nor was how the levy will be calculated for tourists arriving on the island with no pre-booked accommodation.

And the taxes could add up; for example, if a couple takes a two-week holiday in a supposed seven-star resort, they could be subject to combined fees in excess of US$60. Mohd Rawi argued however, that tourists coming to Langkawi could afford it.

He added that the funds collected would be used for tourism-related projects. "If we can collect a satisfactory amount of levy, we can implement more tourism-related programs for the benefit of the tourists," he was reported saying by Bernama.

The levy could be extended to other locations in the state of Kedah in future.

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