Morocco Is Bringing in Undercover Inspectors to Tackle Airbnb

Dimitrios Papageorgiou  / © Culture Trip
Dimitrios Papageorgiou / © Culture Trip
Morocco will tax travel sites, such as Airbnb and, from next year. According to the government, this move will help local hotels and travel agencies stay relevant by curbing the increasing usage of travel sites for cheaper and quicker service.

When it comes to the financial sector, Morocco has strict laws in place. Just last month, Uber decided to suspend its services from the kingdom due to a lack of registered associations, pressure from taxi owners who were convinced the app was taking away their clients, and lack of support from the government.

With nearly 22,000 listings, Morocco is the second most popular destination in Africa for Airbnb. Morocco’s tourism sector generates approximately $7 billion and employs over 2.5 million Moroccans, making it one of the most important sectors of the country.

Some Airbnb offices © Open Grid Scheduler / Flickr

The measure to tax these sites aims to appease local hoteliers and owners of guesthouses who have faced difficulties over the last few of years due to the increasing number of people using the sites. This initiative has been taken very seriously and tax officials working directly with undercover hotel inspectors and interior ministry informants will ensure its compliance. Authorities will also try to boost local travel websites with attractive packages.

According to Mehdi Taleb, the head of regulation, development and quality at Morocco’s Tourism, Air Transport and Social Economy Ministry, these changes are part of the country’s efforts to confront a “new reality which is distorting visibility for [Morocco’s] tourism development strategies”.

An Airbnb representative said that although talks with the Moroccan government are still in their early stages, the organization is generally happy with this initiative. It will simplify the rules regarding tourism tax collection, and make it easier for Moroccan Airbnb hosts to pay their fair share to the government.