The country’s national trade association for the hospitality industry, the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) now claims there is a ‘non-compliance’ by the online hospitality marketplace AirBNB and are calling on the South African government to sort out this competition.
TourismUpdate.co.za quotes Fedhasa CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa who told delegates to this year’s Tourism Indaba in Durban that AirBNB “does not comply with certain industry rules” and regulations, “including verifying that accommodation providers are in compliance with the South African Liquor Act”.
According to Tshivhengwa, this leaves “the door open for an informal renter to supply a complementary bottle of wine”, which he says can unfairly tip the scales in AirBNB’s favour.
“This is just one example of a myriad of ways that the formal sector can be disadvantaged by those operating outside of the regulation,” Tshivhengwa complained. “There are rules of engagement and Airbnb needs to adhere to these rules. There can’t be a different set of rules to benefit only them. I know many will say it’s different, it’s a sharing economy and not part of the industry, well if you provide a short term accommodation for gain, it’s not sharing.”
Airbnb has called the allegations baseless, saying they are made up by lobby groups who want to avoid competition and protect their bottom line.
According to Velma Corcoran, Airbnb’s regional Market Manager for Southern Africa “hosting on Airbnb allows regular South Africans to share their homes, boost their income and spread benefits beyond hotel districts to local communities and businesses. We want to be good partners to cities and work closely with authorities in South Africa and across the world”.
Tshivhengwa has now called on the Department of Tourism to partner with them during the upcoming Shared Economy Conference to discuss a way to make Airbnb compliant with SA tourism and hospitality industry rules and regulations.