In the latest news, the government of Tanzania has decided to levy Airbnb hosts as the country continues to make millions of dollars from tourism. The move comes after it was revealed the country earned a whopping $2 billion from tourism alone after the country welcomed 1.3 million tourists who visited the country as of last year.
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The Airbnb hosts have been given 50 days to register with the government or face a door to door check of the unregistered hosts in the country. The search will lead to arrest for those who fail to comply with the government orders. A report on the Airbnb website has coined tourism as one of the leading sources of revenue and hard currency.
The assistant director of licensing and control Rosada Musoma in the ministry of tourism has stated that the government recognizes the facilities being used and will, therefore, require operators to have licenses and pay a fee to conduct business. In response to the government order, there are those who have welcomed the new licenses as a fair play. Siriri Akko, the executive secretary to the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators has said the move will create fairness in the hospitality industry and protect tourists from any problems.
Furthermore, it will equal the playing field as more tourists are preferring to stay at locations other than hotels. Airbnb is favored as the rates are way cheaper. Offering the users, the option of renting a private room or an entire house or apartment. There is also the option of selecting the area where you shall stay and select from many options on where to stay that suits your needs.
The app is also versatile offering a cultural experience or adventure depending on where you choose to stay. Some bookings come with complimentary services such as a quality photo shoot at subsidized prices for those who choose to stay with select hosts. Affordability, versatility and the catalog of homes have been a vantage point for the hosts on Airbnb and the success of Airbnb as a whole.
Airbnb is an American short-term rental service company. For many has become a source of income for the rarely inhabited country home, expensive penthouse and cozy urban home. For others with family members away or who live alone, they have been able to rent the extra room to tourists looking for a good time, or a full home and villa for those who come with family or solo vacation.
For those who receive few renters, they have no luck as the rule includes all of them as it does hotels and other tourism facilities. Since the business for short-stay operators is growing fast, there have been no exemptions to the rule. This forces all Airbnb accommodates to comply or risk arrest and ultimately, losing business. However, with this rule in play, it is more likely that the accommodation for hosts in Tanzania will go up to accommodate the new levy or compromise for more customers.
At the end of the day, the hosts will feel the pinch of the introduced levy as some tourists may opt to stay in a luxury hotel of the same amount rather than have a self-service stay at a local home. The idea goes both ways, some may choose to continue with Airbnb citing the local experience as their motivation to pay an extra sum for a short stay with an Airbnb host.
Airbnb has been successful globally, gaining unicorn status in a short period of time for its global penetration with users from all over the world outsourcing their services through the app to gain tenants for a short stay in various parts of the world. This news does put a spotlight on the trend of African governments who have taken to taxing social media usage. The hope is that this does not become another widespread trend in digital disruption on the continent.