The Tourism Fund and other regulatory agencies have launched a new registration drive of home stays popularly known as Airbnbs hosted in Kenya in an effort to bring them under the tax bracket.
According to the Fund, despite about 40,000 Airbnb hosts listed in Kenya, the agency has only registered 400 across the country.
Most of these Airbnbs are not unregistered by regulatory agencies like the Tourism Regulatory Authority and other licensing organisations such as counties making it hard to track and register them.
This also means that the country loses a source of revenue as more Kenyans opt for luxurious Airbnbs than traditional hotels for accommodation.
The Fund’s chief executive David Mwangi said that they have also initiated a discussion with the Airbnb Africa office to have all hosts on the platform sensitised and registered.
“We urge all hosts to know that they offer accommodation and as a result are required by law to register and remit the 2 percent levy,” said Mr Mwangi, during a stakeholder meeting that brought together county officials from counties under the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb).
Mr Mwangi explained that recently, the State agency held a training workshop for 120 hosts in Nakuru County towards ensuring all owners understood their obligation to compliance.
“The product is no longer as it is due to the rise in online business. We have new entrants and we are working to overcome this challenge but we have had many of them voluntarily registering . . . for new ones, we are engaging counties on how best to have them registered,” said the State agency board’s chairperson Samson Some, who was flanked by other board members.
Mr Some noted that they are working to map out and profile tourist sites to increase the number of tourists in the North Rift and other regions in the country.
He explained that through engagements with all stakeholders, they are sensitising them on the levies to enhance revenue collection and assist in product development.
Airbnbs are becoming popular in the counties as real estate developers and homeowners put up several gate-away homes in the North Rift region to tap the growing demand for classy and exclusive homes. Some owners are charging as low as Sh2,500 and high as Sh15,000 per night.
STANLEY KIMUGE, “Tourism Fund Renews Push to Get Airbnbs Pay 2 Pc Tax,” Business Daily (Business Daily, October 3, 2023), https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/bd/economy/tourism-fund-renews-push-to-get-airbnbs-pay-2-pc-tax–4388834.