Tanzania tells Airbnb operators to register or face arrest


Tanzania’s government plans to go from ‘house to house’, to ensure that all short-stay accommodation operators have registered their facilities.

The government on Monday gave a 50 day window for operators like those signed up with U.S. short-term rental service Airbnb Inc, to register or face arrest.

Rosada Musoma, assistant director of licensing and control in the ministry of tourism said when the 50-day period expires at the end of next month, the government will arrest any operators who have failed to register.

“There are many individuals who are operating these facilities… We want them to be recognised officially by the government and pay required license fees,” said Musoma.

Tourism is one of the biggest sources of hard currency for the East African nation 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.

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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