S. Africa tourism trade group says Airbnb hurts sector, urges regulation

South African hotels are losing millions of rands (tens of thousands of U.S. dollars) because some tourists choose to use Airbnbs over hotels, said the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) on Monday.

TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said while the tourism body has no qualms with Airbnb, the online accommodation platform should be regulated.

“Daily and monthly, hotels are losing money. Hotels occupancies are down in most group hotels,” he told Xinhua on Monday.

Tshivhengwa said it’s unfair that the regulated industry, which contributes to the National Treasury, has also been subsidizing unregulated Airbnb operations.

“They are not contributing any tax. They are not registered. This means an informal sector is subsidizing a formal sector,” he said.

Tshivhengwa said the TBCSA has been lobbying for the regulation of the Airbnb.

“Businesses that have been zoned cannot be competing with homes zoned as residential areas. Minimum regulations must kick in,” he said.

He said the TBCSA has spoken to the Tourism Department about its concerns and that it is optimistic about an upcoming amended tourism act.

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