The Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) revealed plans to enroll at least 50,000 short-term accommodation facilities based on Airbnb within three months.

The General Manager of the authority, Norbert Talam, reported that approximately 8,000 Airbnb facilities have already registered with the Tourism Regulatory Authority and received licenses. He stressed the importance of documenting operational data in the country.

Emphasizing the significance of registration and authority support, he highlighted that short-term accommodation facilities play a crucial role in enhancing tourism in the country.

Speaking during an award ceremony for hotels and tourism establishments accredited in nine counties of the Mount Kenya region in Murang’a, the director explained that once Airbnb is registered, owners will undergo training and guidance on providing quality services and ensuring security for 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,” said Talam.

With the registration of Airbnb, the director highlighted that it will enhance tourism in the country, providing reassurance to both local and international guests in accessing the services of these facilities. Airbnb will obtain licenses and receive support from the Tourism Regulatory Authority, including training and security maintenance. The authority will collaborate with the Private Security Regulatory Authority to ensure guest registration and security.

National Classification of all Tourism and Hospitality Facilities

The director further indicated that the authority will initiate 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.”

Talam revealed that the last classification of hotels in the country took place between 2018 and 2019, necessitating the need for the exercise to be conducted this year as a symbol of quality that both international and local guests can identify with.

He urged those involved in the exercise to collaborate, ensuring the classification is carried out judiciously 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.

James Ndungu of the Silver Lodges of Lake Nakuru unit praised the TRA for initiating the assessment of tourism facilities, stating that the process has paved the way for improvements. The authority’s support is anticipated to attract numerous investors to the tourism sector, consequently generating employment opportunities for many 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.”