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Tanzania Moves to Regulate Revenue from Airbnb

As part of plans to raise more money from tourism in Tanzania, its government has announced that it is giving a 50 days ultimatum to short-stay accommodation operators in the country. Government officials will go from ‘house to house’ in the coming days in order to register US-based rental service Airbnb operators in the country. Airbnb is a San-Francisco based company that specializes in the online marketplace and hospitality services. The company was founded 10 years ago by the trio of Brian Pesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk and is now worth $2.6 billion. The online company allows residents of a city/country to rent out their apartments, hostel beds, or hostel rooms temporarily to visitors or tourists who are seeking experiences in tourism or are just in the community for work-related activity. The company is operating in more than 80 cities in 191 countries around the world. The company usually charges the guests between 0-20 percent of the charging fees, and the hosts 30 percent of the charging fees. In recent times, tourism has become Tanzania’s fastest growing sector, with revenue from the sector valued at $2.3 billion in 2017. That number was 25 percent of Tanzania’s total Forex earnings. With this news, Tanzania hopes to gain more revenue through giving license fees to Airbnb operators who had before now been under the radar. There have been controversies over how much government is entitled to from the charges, and if there should be taxes on them. According to Business Insider, the average income for Airbnb hosts vary across the continent. The average income for an Airbnb host in Kenya is under $1000 per annum, while it is $2000 in South Africa and #1000 in Morocco.