Airbnb throws municipalities a hospitality pass

Business

Airbnb throws municipalities a hospitality pass

Coming up with regulations to restrict Airbnb is one thing. Enforcement it is a different kettle of fish

Siseko Njobeni


It has become the norm to see technology-based solutions disrupt conventional industries. Uber and Airbnb are just two examples that come to mind. The disruptive effect is rooted in breakthrough innovation. But the disruptors often work outside the regulations that govern well-established industries. The reason for this is most of the regulations were not created with tech-based solutions in mind.
As can be expected this is a sore point for established players and goes some way to explaining the loud calls for tighter regulation in the name of levelling the playing field.
The South African tourism sector has now joined the chorus of those calling for the restriction of Airbnb. The online platform allows homeowners to advertise their property and connect with guests. Significantly, the company’s model allows property owners to generate a decent income.
Are short-term rentals illegal in SA? Certainly not. At the moment, Airbnb regulation falls in the hands of municipalities which enforce bylaws and zoning regulations. South Africans know very well that many of the country’s municipalities are poorly run, with limited capabilities. Coming up with regulations and bylaws to restrict Airbnb is one thing. Enforcement it is a different kettle of fish.
However, few can argue against the need for some form of regulation in this space. After all, the increased (and welcome) competition in the hospitality sector must be accompanied by accountability.

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