Tanzania's Airbnb hosts ordered to register or face arrest

Short-stay accommodation operators required to pay licence fees.

Airbnb website. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

IN SUMMARY

  • Tourism official says when the 50-day period expires at the end of next month, the government will go from “house to house” and arrest any operators who have failed to register.

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Tanzania's short-stay accommodation operators have to register their facilities with the government in the next 50 days or face arrest, in a move affecting those signed up with US short-term rental service Airbnb Inc.

Tourism is one of the biggest sources of hard currency for the country which was the fifth-biggest African market for Airbnb in terms of total guest arrivals in the year to September 2017, according to a report on the firm’s website.

“There are many individuals who are operating these facilities... We want them to be recognised officially by the government and pay required licence fees,” said Rosada Musoma, assistant director of licensing and control in the ministry of tourism on Monday.

She said when the 50-day period expires at the end of next month, the government will go from “house to house” and arrest any operators who have failed to register.

Siriri Akko, the executive secretary of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, told Reuters that the government’s decision would create fairness in business and protect tourists from any problems.

“Even if they (accommodation operators) receive a low number of tourists, they should pay taxes and license fees like others because their business is growing fast as tourists now want to experience life outside hotels,” he said.

Local representatives for Airbnb were not immediately available for comment.

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