South Africa’s ministry of tourism and Airbnb have announced a partnership to regulate the country’s short-term rental industry.
This agreement will include the introduction of a voluntary national registration system to help the South African government understand the rental business better. The country’s tourism minister Patrcia de Lille said, “Insufficient information is available about the unregulated Short Term Rental subsector, and this hampers informed policy decision making. Access to the Airbnb data can only assist in informing better decisions.”
The registry would also look to “protect hosts and clamp down on property speculators who damage communities,” added Velma Corcoran, Airbnb Regional Lead Middle East Africa.
Airbnb has long been calling for rules to distinguish between professional and non-professional activity and a framework for public-private cooperation to help promote inclusivity in the country’s sector, added Corcoran. Airbnb said it will further give South Africa’s tourism ministry access to its City Portal—a tool it says has been “rolled out to over 300 jurisdictions to date and helps governments develop and manage fair short-term rental policies and regulations.”
This call for regulation is in contrast to the crackdown underway in New York, in which Airbnb hosts must register and comply with STR rules specific to the city. In New York’s new registration requirements, hosts with shared rooms need to obtain registrations from the city to accommodate a maximum of two guests legally, and the hosts need to be present during the stay.
Corcoran added that international best practices regarding the short-term rentals sector will be a focal point for the Airbnb Africa Travel Summit, slated for 23rd to 24th October in Johannesburg.
Skift reached out to SA’s Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille to confirm when the registry would take effect, what information would be required, and how the data would be regulated and protected but has yet to receive a response.