The Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) has released new regulations on registration and licensing of serviced apartments, homes and villas. The regulator states that the new regulations were prompted by the dynamic and emerging traveller trends that have necessitated different concepts on the local and global spheres.

TRA is a state corporation with the mandate to regulate all tourism activities and services in Kenya. This is achieved through registration, quality assurance audits and licensing of all tourism activities and services countrywide.

The popular AirBnb concept of furnished homes, apartments and villas in residential settings are among the licensable accommodation facilities that offer regulated hospitality activities.

Owners and hosts of these apartments will now be required to do the following to keep their businesses running.

  1. Ksh. 1,000 registration fee
  2. Ksh. 26,000 annual fee per house/unit
  3. NEMA license
  4. Single business permit
  5. Home insurance
  6. 1% Digital Service Tax (DST)
  7. 2% Catering levy
  8. 16% VAT and corporate tax, because they will register as a Limited Company
  9. Every member shall pay one initial license fee for 2021, upon which they will be required to pay up for each unit in 2022.

After registration, TRA shall undertake inspection of all registered units starting April 2021, then offer licenses to approved units.

Tourism licensing is aimed at ensuring customer satisfaction and competitiveness of the country as a tourist destination. Thus, all activities and services as outlined in the 9th Schedule of Tourism Act, 2011 need to manage customer expectations by maintaining minimum standards.

The classification exercises will be overseen by a Standardization and Classification Committee comprising members from both the public and private sectors.