25-06-2021 by redazione
Unprofessional and unlicensed guides selling safaris on Facebook, hotels giving themselves 'stars', villas renting without paying taxes, bed & breakfasts without permits and other amenities that 'transversal' tourism on the Kenyan coast offers, are increasingly in the grip of the tourism authorities.
There have already been arrests and fines in recent weeks as a result of checks on online booking sites and even facebook and tripadvisor profiles and the Tourism Regulatory Authority (T.R.A.) has published a new notice in national newspapers asking those who are breaking the rules to contact the institutions before they do the same, using the maximum penalties under the law of 12 months imprisonment or hefty fines.
"It has come to our attention that there are unlicensed online tour guides and companies that have defrauded unsuspecting tourists and end up shutting down websites and Facebook accounts after receiving payments," the T.R.A. writes on its notice, "and that some restaurants and hotels have falsely marketed themselves as having been awarded several stars by this Authority, but this is false, misleading and punishable by law.
Warning that there will be further checks and inviting people to visit the website (www.tourismauthority.go.ke) or the relevant offices, the T.R.A. also recalls its commitment against the illegal rental of flats, cottages or rooms by private houses that often advertise on social networking or specialist sites.
"Unlicensed operators of cottages, guest houses, villas, flats who market themselves on online booking platforms, without the relevant licences from the authority continue to operate, risking prosecution for doing so." The statement explains.
After starting with portals such as Booking.com and AirBnb, they are now targeting the undergrowth of Facebook, where they are looking for villas and private homes used as B&Bs or accommodation to rent. They have also come across improvised safari guides and many other tourism-related activities, often local, that do not have any kind of authorisation and that evidently completely bypass the Kenyan tax system.
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