Following a call for regulation by the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), the government of South Africa has finally responded with a bill.
FEDHASA complained that unregistered accommodation establishments on Airbnb take away potential customers from already established hotels. Another concern was that the tourism industry in South Africa is obliged to pay taxes while Airbnb, an online accommodation booking platform is allowed to undercut prices.
Airbnb has listed over 130,000 accommodations and lodged over 3.5 million guests since its debut in Africa. Countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Mozambique were last year, ranked amongst its eight fastest growing markets globally. This disruption of the tourism industry can be said to be the major cause of concern of FEDHASA. This is not the first regulation Airbnb has received, similar concerns were raised in both Namibia and Tanzania.
The government has released a Tourism Amendment Bill to regulate “short-term home rentals” under the South African Tourism Act. The Minister of Tourism will regulate the number of nights that a guest can stay and how much income an Airbnb host will earn.
Furthermore, the Department of Tourism will be in charge of zoning the different local governments and will also determine the location of Airbnb in South Africa.
In response to the bill, Airbnb said it supports clear and progressive rules that support the sustainable growth of home sharing. A spokesman revealed that they are having talks with the government of South and we wait to see the turn of events.
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