As concerns that home-sharing apps such as Airbnb are damaging the tourism sector, the government has decided to tighten its grasps by regulating such apps more strictly.

The Tourism Amendment Bill published on Friday April 12, states that all short-term home rentals will now be legislated under the Tourism Act.

This update will allow the minister of Tourism to determine the exact thresholds or limits regarding these rentals on a short term basis.

The amendments have been added to deal with many complaints from local accommodation businesses and hotels that claim Airbnb is hurting their business.

The thresholds or limits could include setting a specific number of nights guests are allowed to stay as well as how much income Airbnb will be allowed to earn.

The department also has plans to research the locations and zones of different Airbnb listing to provide further insight into the issue.

Airbnb has seen huge growth in the last few years. With the app’s increase in popularity, the number of complaints have also increased.

The Federated Hospitality Association of SA (FHASA) called for government to crack down on Airbnb, and smaller organisations have followed suit.

The Port Elizabeth Metro Bed and Breakfast Association (PEMBBA) told City Press that Airbnb brought in over R6-million in Nelson Mandela Bay last year, up 65% on the previous period. The app rental company also advertises that locals can earn over R24 000 a month renting their properties in Cape Town.

“We support clear and progressive rules that support the sustainable growth of home sharing and we are having productive discussions with the government, based on our experience working with more than 500 governments around the world on measures to help hosts share their homes, follow the rules and pay their fair share of tax.
Airbnb is growing because it reflects the way people live, work and travel today and while travel on our platforms accounts for less than 1 in 8 visitors to South Africa, studies show those guests boosted the economy by R8.7 billion (roughly $678 million USD) and helped create 22,000 jobs last year alone.This healthy and sustainable tourism model – with hosts also keeping up to 97% of the price they charge to rent the space – is transforming local economies and makes Airbnb fundamentally different to businesses that take money out of the places they do business in.” said an Airbnb spokesperson.

As trends change and new advancements take over, many in the tourism industry are feeling the pressure and competition due to convenient offerings like Airbnb. Also read: Top 10 APP’s for Capetonians


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