Hotel-related stocks impacted by implementation of tourism tax

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 8): Shares in hotel-related counters fell in mid-morning trade today, after the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) warned Malaysia’s tourism tax could have a negative impact on hotel operators.

At 11.40am, Pan Malaysia Holdings Bhd slipped 2.94% or 0.5 sen to 16.5 sen, with 60,000 shares done, for a market capitalisation of RM157.91 million.

Shangri-La Hotels (M) Bhd dipped 2.14% or 11 sen to RM5.02, with 66,000 shares exchanging hands, for a market capitalisation of RM2.22 billion.

Landmarks Bhd remains unchanged at 87 sen with 2,000 shares crossed hands, valuing it at RM460.14 million.

On the other hand, Genting Malaysia Bhd rose 0.53% or three sen to RM5.65, with 3.17 million shares exchanging hands, for a market capitalisation of RM31.91 billion.

This announcement came after Royal Malaysian Customs Department published details of the tax on its website.

The implementation of the tax will begin on Aug 1, with registration of operators of accommodation premises to start on July 1.

Ideas director of research Ali Salman said the tourism tax will only serve to increase costs for tourists and in fact, experience in countries like Tanzania shows how sensitive tourists are to changes in prices.

The tax, which is to be charged at a specific rate on a tourist staying at any accommodation premises provided by an operator, will be regulated by the finance ministry and customs.

In addition, CIMB Research in its report dated April 8 said the tax could also have a negative impact on the hotel industry in Malaysia.

“We are of the view that this is negative for the hotel industry in Malaysia, as it may lead to an uneven playing field between licensed and unlicensed hotel operators, as the latter are not regulated,” the report read.

The tourism tax bill was passed in Parliament on April 6.

Meanwhile, Interpacific Securities Sdn Bhd senior remisier Sam Ng remains positive on the tourism tax implementation.

“I view the tourism tax as a safety net for the government, [a] tool to monitor tourists’ activities in society,” he said.