Late last month, the South African Tourism Department published the Tourism Amendment Bill, which stipulates that short-term home rentals would be legislated under the Tourism Act.

With that said, Airbnb commented on the issue at the time, stating that it had several questions that required answering from the Department.

Since then representatives from the home rental platform have had the chance to meet with the National Department of Tourism (NDT), noting their delight in engaging with them about the proposed amendments to the Tourism Act. They were also encouraged to see the recognition of the benefits that hosting brings to the local community and economy.

“The hosts at Airbnb are incredibly proud of the offering that they bring to the tourism sector, and Airbnb wants to continue to support them as they make their voices heard in the ongoing participatory process,”explained Airbnb manager for the Sub-Saharan region, Velma Corcoran.

“Airbnb is committed to facilitate a dialogue between them, the Ministry and relevant authorities as their voices are vulnerable to the process. Airbnb will continue to engage through all process to ensure that these distinctions and clarifications are clear,” she continues.

According to the Tourism Amendment Bill, it allows for the Minister of Tourism to include the limit to the number of nights that guests could stay and how much Airbnb earns.

In response to this Airbnb added that from 1st June 2017 to the 31st May 2018, it estimated that it had generated R8.7 billion in economic impact in the country, which also corresponds to a total of over 22 000 jobs that have been supported in the broader local economy.

“For South Africa to reach its ambitious tourism goal that are to economic development and job creation for all citizens, it is vital that guests to the country have a wide selection of accommodation and experience options including home sharing which allows guests to stay in different areas as well as with local host who are ambassadors to their country,” added Corcoran.

The Bill further stipulated that it would give oversight to local government when it came to zoning areas and where Airbnb can operate.

The company said that to continue this trend and to not disadvantage any citizen in South Africa, it will support fair and proportional rules that are evidence based and beneficial to the people while distinguishing between professional and non-professional activity. Also taking into account local conditions.

“For example, rules based on the level of activity as opposed to the platform where the accommodation is listed with a clear distinction between traditional hospitality providers and occasional home sharers. Similarly any additional requirements for tour guides should not unfairly discriminate against entrepreneurial citizens from different walks of life,” said Corcoran.

“Airbnb hosts have already contributed significantly to the South African economy by welcoming people into their homes and creating exciting experiences and tours which show visitors the true and varied face of the country,” concluded Corcoran.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]