Calls build across Africa for Airbnb regulation

South Africa, this month revised its tourism bill to include “short-term rentals”
airbnb

Airbnb is easily the world’s biggest accommodation-sharing site. Between the various governments and health sectors in Africa, there has been an increasing call for the regulation of its activities.

The reason being that Airbnb has been accused of taking businesses away from registered Hotels, and swallowing their profits.

And they are not far off the mark with their claims. Airbnb itself recently bought into the hotel sector by acquiring booking application HotelTonight, a decisive move as it readies for an initial public offering. The calls to halt Airbnb’s drive come off the back of the berating that Netflix and Uber have received for their below-par services in Africa.

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Away from Africa, in the US, Airbnb has been battling in court cities, including New York, New Jersey, Miami, and San Francisco over calls to give up the complete list of its hosts’ details, register the rental properties with authorities, and pay surcharge fees.

In 2018, Spain limited the number of residences that can be legally rented on the platform, and from January 2019, Airbnb started reporting information of homeowners to the Spanish tax agency. Ireland, Germany, France, and India have also taken related moves in the past.

Acknowledging some of the grievances, South Africa, this month revised its tourism bill to include “short-term rentals” which mean that once the bill becomes legislation, Airbnb listings will tow the same regulations as the rest of the hospitality industry, including being subject to the tourism board’s official grading system. 

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For now, Airbnb appears to be heeding the swirl of opposition advice it is getting in Africa.


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