The Kenyan government through the tourism ministry is in touch with Airbnb, seeking to have the over 8,000 Kenyan establishments on the home sharing platform taxed.

According to a source at the Tourism Ministry, the PS has already contacted the Airbnb headquarters and is talking to key personnel to have the agreement signed soon.

The Kenyan government is arguing that Airbnb is the biggest hotel chain in the country as it has the highest number of rooms and guests in the country and so the government can benefit from a partnership.

The ministry is initially pushing for at least find ways of having Airbnb collect 5% from each user booking a stay with a Kenyan host.

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The tax will be called Occupancy Tax and will either be collected by Airbnb or host while the user is booking. Airbnb has insisted that any additional charges on users must be clearly revealed before any stay is booked.

Airbnb already collects Occupancy Tax on behalf of authorities in Amsterdam, Portland and San Francisco.

Initially, the government wanted to push Booking.Com too to have them also collect the same but the move was suspended as alternative ways to effect the same are sought by the ministry.

Tax on uses of social media and other digital platforms is a new front in Africa and other parts of the world. Uganda recently introduced tax on WhatsApp use. It remains to be seen how the regulations will be enforced.

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