The Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) plans to enlist at least 50,000 Airbnb-based short-term accommodation facilities within three months.
The authority’s General Manager, Norbert Talam, said that already about 8, 000 AirBnB facilities have registered with the Tourism Regulatory Authority and were issued with licenses, stressing the importance of recording data on operations in the country.
He said the short-term accommodation facilities were critical to boosting tourism in the country while emphasising the need for registration and authority support.
The director, who was speaking in Murang’a during an award ceremony for hotels and tourism establishments accredited in nine counties of the Mount Kenya region, explained that after Airbnb was registered, the owners will get trained and guided on how to offer quality services and security to their guests.
“In the recent past, there have been several criminal cases at Airbnb, and we want to ensure the safety of all guests accommodated in the facilities are guaranteed. Some owners of AirBnB have already registered and issued licenses, and we call upon those yet to do so to come out and register with us,” averred Talam.
With the registration of Airbnb, the director noted it will boost tourism in the country as guests, both local and international, will not fear accessing the services of the facilities. Airbnb will receive licenses and receive support from the Tourism Regulatory Authority, through training and security maintenance, working with the Private Security Regulatory Authority to ensure guest registration and security.
The director further indicated that the authority will launch a national classification of all tourism and hospitality facilities in the country next month. Talam announced that the Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary will launch an exercise within six months.
“During the classification exercise, hospitality facilities, including hotels, will be star-rated from 5-star to 1-star. This will ensure a facility gives quality services as stipulated in the categorised cluster.” He added.
Talam divulged that the last classification of hotels in the country was done between 2018 and 2019, thus the need for the exercise to be done this year as a mark of quality that guests, both international and local, can associate with.
He called on those who will be involved in the exercise to cooperate to ensure the classification is done prudently and in accordance with the guidelines. The director reported that 290 hotels and tourism facilities from Mount Kenya participated in the award ceremony.
“From the hotels that participated in the accreditation exercise, 63 of them were awarded gold, which is a mark of high quality; 64 others got bronze; and 21 were awarded silver. With these awards, the hotels can now market themselves with the qualities they have, and this will boost tourism in this region,” he added.
On his part, James Ndungu of the Silver Lodges of Lake Nakuru unit lauded the TRA for coming up with the initiative of assessing the tourism facilities, saying the process has provided ways for improvement. The authority’s support is expected to drive numerous investors into the tourism sector, thereby creating employment opportunities for numerous young people.
“The assessment was quite fair, and those who participated are now encouraged to improve the quality of services they offer. Fair competition in the tourism sector will ensure the industry grows and plays a part in growing the country’s economy.” He added