24 April 2019

South Africa: Devil's in the Detail As Government Toys With Regulating AirBnB

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(file photo).

Echoing calls to regulate ride-share platform Uber in South Africa, which has disrupted the taxi industry worldwide, has spilt over into the local tourism industry players, which have called for Airbnb to be regulated. The Department of Tourism has heard the cries, but not everybody is happy with the proposals.

The Tourism Amendment Bill has created much angst among people making their living from providing short-term lodging on web-based platforms such as Airbnb. The bill, released on April 12, 2019, for public comment, is considering, among other things, the legal steps to regulate private home rentals.

If the proposals were to be signed into law, the Department of Tourism could specify various "thresholds" in terms the number of nights guests can stay at chosen locations or how much money an Airbnb host can earn.

Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom told BD TV that the main aim of the proposals is to deal with some anomalies in the legislation, of which short-term rentals form a small part.

He said that the bill stipulates that these online offerings are similarly regulated to guest houses and other lodging establishments in South Africa.

"It will level the playing field," he said. "It's about getting...

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