Sakeliga’s Comment on the Tourism Amendment Bill of 2019

The Tourism Amendment Bill [2019] was published by the department of tourism on the 15th of April 2019 for public comment.

Among other changes, the bill aims to amend the Tourism Act in order to empower the minister of tourism to set national thresholds for short-term homerental.

Short-term homerental is defined in the bill as the renting or leasing on a temporary basis, for reward, of a dwelling or part thereof, to a visitor.  

The thresholds bill envisions could have wide-raging implications for entrepreneurs that have entered the tourism market through platforms such as Airbnb 

A pdf version of Sakeliga’s comment on the bill is available at the following link.

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.

In our comment, we appeal on the new Minister of tourism to give serious consideration to the impact of the current regulatory environment on hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, and to determine the contribution of legislation and regulations to the cost of doing business in the tourist accommodation sector.

Furthermore, we request the Minister to find innovative ways of lessening the red-tape, bureaucracy and legislative requirements that contribute to challenges for tourism enterprises in general and accommodation enterprises specifically.

We request the minister to not hold back the the short-term home sharing sector with national thresholds and red-tape.

Read the full comment in pdf at the following link.