Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom recently met with representatives from Airbnb to discuss the regulation of short-term rentals, amongst other policy issues.

The meeting took place as part of the current call for public comment on the Tourism Amendment Bill, published on April 15, to allow stakeholders to provide submissions.

Airbnb provided data on a range of global trends and the approaches adopted in various other countries, states and cities where the company operates. It was acknowledged that there was a need for a proactive legislative and policy response to be underscored by sound destination management.

The Tourism Amended Draft Bill aims to address the regulatory vacuum on short-term rentals by defining short-term rentals as “the renting or leasing on a temporary basis, for reward, of a dwelling or a part thereof, to a visitor”. The Bill also aims to enable the Minister of Tourism to determine thresholds regarding short-term home rentals through a notice in the Government Gazette.

“The Amendment Draft Bill in its current form proposes that the Minister of Tourism be empowered to determine such thresholds. We urge our stakeholders to submit their comments, to enable us to strengthen the Bill in order to serve the interest of inclusive tourism growth in South Africa,” said Victor Tharage, Director-General for the Department of Tourism.

Minister Hanekom welcomed the co-operation and discussion from Airbnb, saying: “We welcome Airbnb and other game-changing innovations that are opening up new markets for destinations, offering travellers affordable holidays, and allowing smaller industry players to thrive. Many of these are able to flourish through the ease of use of shared-economy platforms.”