Tourism Fund has put homestay hosts including Airbnbs on notice over failure to register and pay the Tourism Levy which is charged to all facilities that offer accommodation services.
According to the State corporation, only 400 out of 40,000 listed Airbnb hosts in Kenya have been registered with the government.
In a statement, the Fund said that the low registration from Airbnbs indicates that over 39,000 Airbnbs hosts are non-compliant with the 2.0 per cent Tourism Levy.
To push for compliance, the Fund indicated that they are working with Airbnb Africa to have all hosts on the platform registered.
A screengrab of tourists heading to the Nairobi National Park at the entrance on Sunday, September 10, 2023
This could mean that the Fund might explore ways to have the global homestay host platform deduct and remit the levy directly to the government.
“This is the situation that I’ve always raised and is why we’re here. When you come to engage your stakeholders they have good suggestions on what we can do to build upon what we do,” Tourism Fund Samson Kipkoech stated.
Homestay services have been on the rise in recent years as business and leisure travellers seek cheaper alternatives from hotels.
“The levy fund which is 2 per cent goes into product development and stakeholders are eager to discuss about solutions from the partnerships not necessarily matters payment,” he noted.
The agency has now asked all Airbnb hosts who are not registered to visit any nearest Tourism Fund office for registration.
According to the Fund, proceeds from the 2.0 per cent Tourism Levy are used for sector development.
Kenyans have decried increased taxation as the government raids the pockets of taxpayers amid an economic slowdown.
The latest move could further affect people using Airbnbs as a source of extra income to cushion themselves from the hardships.
Tourists watching elephants at the Masai Mara in Kenya.
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