In the first two weeks of the new year, two deaths have been reported in alleged Airbnbs in Nairobi, sparking concerns among Kenyans about the safety of short-stay accommodations.
Government takes action in response to Airbnb-linked deaths [New regulations & penalties]
Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife introduces new stringent measures to boost safety in short-stay accommodations
While Airbnb has dismissed any connection to the incidents, citizens have taken to social media to express their worries, prompting the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife to issue a statement addressing the issue.
Ministry's concerns and commitment to safety
Expressing great concern over the recent criminal incidents in the short-stay accommodation sector, the Ministry through a statement posted on X by Alfred Mutua on January 16, emphasised the government's commitment to ensuring the well-being and safety of all stakeholders.
The Ministry, acting as the key regulator of Kenya's tourism sector through the Tourism Regulatory Authority, reaffirmed its responsibilities in registering, licensing, and grading sustainable tourism activities, including services provided by cottages and private residences engaged in guest house services.
Legal framework and enforcement
The statement highlighted the Ministry's dedication to formulating regulations, standards, and guidelines crucial for quality service delivery in the tourism sector. Citing Section 7 of the Tourism Act No.28 of 2011, the Ministry stressed its commitment to enforcing compliance with TRA licensing laws.
It assured the public that hospitality services in Kenya are generally safe but urged citizens to verify the registration and license status of facilities to ensure compliance with government directives and maintain quality standards.
Legal consequences for violations
To uphold the integrity of the tourism industry, the Ministry, through the Tourism Regulatory Authority, pledged rigorous enforcement of compliance and legal action against any violations of TRA licensing laws.
Late renewals of licenses will be subject to penalties and other consequences stipulated by law.
The revised regulations will undergo a public participation exercise, inviting input from tourism and hospitality stakeholders.
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