The Tourism Amendment Bill gives the Minister the power to prescribe:
the number of guests AirBnB owners in your area may accommodate,
for how many nights you may receive your guests,
Sakeliga is sceptical about the merits of government interference in the tourism industry
Give Sakeliga your mandate
The following outlines Sakeliga’s position on the bill as at June 2019:
- South Africa’s economy and business sector is underperforming: economic growth is weak, unemployment is high and many live in poverty;
- cumbersome red-tape and regulatory burdens created by constrictive legislation is not helping to create vibrant industries, businesses and entrepreneurship;
- the tourist accommodation sector is already subjected to many pieces of legislation, regulations and by-laws from all levels of government;
- current legislation and regulations are cumbersome and carry compliance cost for Hotels, Guesthouses and B&Bs;
- excessive regulation will hamper the tourism sector in general, which is incompatible with government’s developmental goals for economic growth, small business development and the promotion of tourism;
- given the current economy and the existing compliance burdens on tourism, we foresee the marginal impact of further laws and regulations to be economically detrimental;
- instead of placing new restrictions on one particular sector of the accommodation industry, we propose that government should attempt to find ways of lessening the regulatory burden of the industry as a whole;
- thresholds on short-term home sharing will make it more difficult for many entrepreneurs to participate in the growth phase of the ‘sharing economy’;
- the public cannot afford the South African tourism industry not making the most of the substantial opportunity that the sharing economy presents.
By signing the form, you mandate Sakeliga to keep debating these points in the next rounds of commentary on the bill.
What happens next
- Inputs will be included in Sakeliga’s comprehensive comment.
- Short-term lessors and AirBnB owners will have an opportunity to sign the comment.
- The mass comment will be submitted.
- Sakeliga will request a turn to speak in parliament.
- Sakeliga will take part in public debate on this issue.
More information on the Amendment Bill
The Department of Tourism published the Tourism Amendment Bill for comment on 12 April 2018. Sakeliga is concerned about certain provisions in the Amendment Bill, in particular section 2, aimed at giving the Minister of Tourism far-reaching powers to regulate short-term leasing services, such as AirBnb.
What does the Tourism Amendment Bill mean to me as short-term lessor?
The proposed amendment will give the Minister far-reaching powers to regulate short-term leasing of houses – so much so that it is in fact virtually impossible to gauge the full extent thereof at this stage. According to statements by the Minister and the Department to the media it is, however, clear that the impact of this legislation is extremely drastic – even to the extent that the number of guests in a particular neighbourhood or area may be limited, or that the minimum or maximum number of nights of accommodation may be prescribed.
What does the Tourism Amendment Bill mean to me as consumer?
Excessively rigorous or whimsical regulation will eventually be most harmful to the consumer. At present, short-term house leasing services offer a convenient and low-cost possibility for people in need of accommodation. It is even advantageous to people who do not use this kind of accommodation because it results in healthy competition throughout the entire sector as far as pricing and customer service are concerned. In short – if this legislative amendment is passed, it is likely to result in more expensive and less pleasant accommodation.
What does the Tourism Amendment Bill mean to me as owner or manager of a hotel or guesthouse?
Although it may appear at first glance that this amendment could be beneficial to larger businesses, there is good reason to believe that, in the long run, it will be to the detriment of all. If, however, short-term leasing services are given an opportunity to apply self-regulation, it will create a precedent that ultimately also could be used to put an end to unnecessary regulation in other parts of the accommodation industry. However, the opposite also applies – if this far-reaching regulation is allowed in this instance, it is quite possible that it could also be extended to more established businesses.
What does Sakeliga intend doing to ensure an even playing field for all players in the market?
It is obvious that there already is much unnecessary regulation in the accommodation industry. Sakeliga therefore also invites owners of guesthouses and hotels to take part in our comment process so as to ensure that this unfair regulation will be opposed effectively.