Unregistered accommodation outlets hurt Swakopmund hospitality sector

Isaac Chikosi 

Owners of registered guesthouses and bed and breakfast establishments in Swakopmund are crying foul over the high number of unregistered airbnb’s. The owners of accommodation registered with Airbnb are competing unfairly against establishments who are registered with the municipality (fitness certificates etc.) as well as the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) which among others are taking levies per occupied bed.

The complainants wrote an official letter to the municipality of Swakopmund urging the local authority to waiver annual fees for fitness certificates, as there are numerous establishments not registered. A second letter was directed to the NTB requesting a decrease in NTB levies.
Although not disregarding the NTB’s efforts the past years to compel owners of accommodation establishments, specifically Airbnb’s to register, the owners who complain say the unregistered businesses are unfairly competing when not paying levies and fees.
Secondly, Airbnb’s have grown by such big numbers in the Swakopmund accommodation and hospitality market that competition have become fierce and cut-throat.
Many registered accommodation establishments as a result are forced to cut costs, including retrenching employees and reducing procurement from service providers.
“…furthermore, we request to waiver the fees for fitness certificate for the next 2 years. I guess it is only fair to give all accommodations the same chance as no one is doing anything against the illegal Airbnb, so we should have also the same rights”, reads and extract of the letters sent to the municipality and NTB.

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