The regulated hospitality industry is fuming over the impact of unregulated Airbnb on their businesses over the holiday season. Photo: File
Cape Town - The regulated hospitality industry is fuming over the impact of unregulated Airbnb on their businesses over the holiday season.

The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) has called on the tourism minister to urgently finalise the legislative framework surrounding regulating Airbnb.

“We are aware that there are changes in the pipeline with regard to the legislation to have Airbnb regulated, and we would have liked for it to be wrapped up before the end of the year,” said Fedhasa chairperson Jeff Rosenberg.

He said they had no problem with the sharing economy and fully supported collaborating on all industry matters.

“Current and existing regulations that are applicable to the hospitality sector should also apply to Airbnb. This would include rates and taxes, third party insurance cover, hygiene audits, fire regulations and security,” Rosenberg said.

He said Fedhasa, in conjunction with SA Tourism, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa and others, had been lobbying authorities to make the regulations applicable to all.

Fedhasa would be meeting with Airbnb again early next month to discuss matters of mutual interest.

The TBCSA said Airbnb was threatening the viability of conventional lodging providers such as hotels, and could lead to job losses,

“It’s a very competitive field and if traditional hotels and B&Bs compete with Airbnb but they are not competing fairly...

“What we’ve been calling for is for them to be regulated so that everyone can be fairly treated,” said TBCSA chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.

Airbnb has become the fastest-growing online platform in the world since it launched in 2009. It’s an online portal that allows people to rent their properties or spare guest rooms.

The online platform takes a 3% commission for every booking from the host, and between 6% and 12% from guests.

Velma Corcoran, Airbnb country manager South Africa, said they had their own rules and regulations.

“Rules are typically proportional to the level of hosting activity provided. It is wrong and misleading to suggest all accommodation on Airbnb is subject to the same rules.

“We always welcome the opportunity to work with governments on clear home-sharing rules and to help hosts to pay their fair share of tax,” she said.

@MarvinCharles17

[email protected]

Cape Argus