Mombasa joins push for Airbnbs taxation


An apartment in Nyali, Mombasa. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG

Owners of home-stay businesses popularly known as Airbnbs based in Mombasa face taxes as the County government moved to rope them into its revenue plans.

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir said Airbnb owners should pay taxes like their hotel counterparts.

“Business has to be fair across the board. If everyone else from the guest houses to the lodges is paying licences, it will only be right for Airbnbs to also pay levies to the county government of Mombasa,” he told a meeting of investors in the hospitality sector.

Read: Investing in Airbnb: What you need to know

His remarks come in the wake of plans by the Tourism Fund to register the businesses after it emerged that about 40,000 Airbnb hosts are listed in Kenya, but the agency has only registered 400.

The national government through the Tourism Fund targets to impose a two-percent levy on Airbnbs.

The Fund’s chief executive David Mwangi said they have also been discussing with the Airbnb Africa office to have all hosts on the platform sensitised and registered.

“We urge all hosts to know that they offer accommodation and as a result are required by law to register and remit the two percent levy,” said Mr Mwangi during a meeting with North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) county officials.

For years, hoteliers have been crying foul over high taxation while the Airbnbs are enjoying tax-free profits due to a lack of regulations.

The hospitality investors said the country has been losing revenues as more Kenyans opt for luxurious Airbnbs than traditional hotels.

Read: Nairobi family-oriented tenants kick out noisy Airbnb renters

Diani, Mombasa, and Kilifi regions have some of the most luxurious beachfront Airbnbs charging up to Sh100,000 per day depending on facilities.

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