October 20, 2017 / 11:57 AM / a month ago

Namibia tells Airbnb hosts to register or face jail

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namibia said on Friday that local home owners listed with U.S. short-term rental service Airbnb Inc risk imprisonment if they fail to register with the tourism regulatory body before the end of this year.

FILE PHOTO: A woman talks on the phone at the Airbnb office headquarters in the SOMA district of San Francisco, California, U.S., August 2, 2016. REUTERS/Gabrielle Lurie

The southern African nation is a long-haul destination for European, American and Asian tourists and the sector contributes around 15 percent to its gross domestic product.

Under Namibian laws, any accommodation establishment with two or more bedrooms is required to register with the tourism board, or face a fine, a two-year jail term or both.

“We need to guarantee the health and safety of guests, but we cannot do that if the accommodation is not registered or regulated,” Namibia Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer Digu Noabeb told Reuters in an interview.

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by James Macharia, editing by David Evans

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