Published on : Saturday, May 18, 2019
He was speaking at a meeting in Cape Town with representatives of the global online accommodation booking platform Airbnb to discuss various policy issues, in particular the regulation of short-term home rentals.
The innovation such as Airbnb offers travellers affordable holidays and allow smaller industry players to thrive, Hanekom added.
Many of these are able to flourish through the ease of using shared-economy platforms, he said.
The meeting took place amid rising concern over the government’s bid to regulate Airbnb and other home-sharing apps.
The government published the Tourism Amendment Bill (TAB) last month for public comment. The TAB aims, amongst others, to address the regulatory vacuum on short-term rentals by defining short-term home rentals as “the renting or leasing on a temporary basis, for reward, of a dwelling or a part thereof, to a visitor.”
It also seeks to enable the Ministry of Tourism to determine thresholds regarding short-term home rentals. This could include limits on the number of nights that a guest can stay or even how much income an Airbnb earns.
Hanekom welcomed the spirit of the discussion and cooperation from Airbnb, and voiced appreciation for their commitment to contributing constructively to the legislative review processes, in support of the country’s tourism development growth objectives.
Around two million people have made use of the platform in South Africa, official figures show.
However, the platform has increasingly come under criticism in South Africa, where local hotels are concerned that the unregistered accommodation establishments listed on the platform are taking away business from established bed-and-breakfast lodges and hotels.