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Ecuador Implements Regulation of Tourist Accommodation in Residential Buildings

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By: Emmanuel Abara Benson
Ecuador Implements Regulation of Tourist Accommodation in Residential Buildings

In a move aimed at providing legal security and transparency, Ecuador’s government has implemented the Regulation of Tourist Accommodation in Residential Buildings.

This regulation, applicable to hosts on platforms like Airbnb, came into effect on September 21, 2023. The law applies to anyone offering the service of hosting guests on a regular and temporary basis for financial compensation, irrespective of how they advertise their services.

Registration with the Tourism Registry

As per the Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen, this regulation will provide legal security to the approximately 17,000 hosts offering this service in Ecuador. A crucial requirement of this regulation is that hosts register with the Tourism Registry to legally operate. The registration process is free and can be completed virtually. It requires information such as the host’s taxpayer identification number, the details of the establishment, and the type of tourist activity being offered. Once registered, the establishment becomes part of the National Tourism Cadastre.

Benefits for Registered Hosts

Registered hosts stand to gain several benefits. This includes access to tourism credits with a 5% interest rate, and a reduction from 12% to 8% in Value Added Tax (VAT) on national holidays for national tourists who hire their services. These benefits aim to encourage more hosts to come forward and register their establishments, thereby promoting tourism.

The Unique Annual Operating License

Another key requirement for hosts offering temporary accommodation in residential buildings is obtaining a Unique Annual Operating License. This process involves dealing with the relevant Municipal or Metropolitan Autonomous Government. It requires a tourism registry, an application form, and payment of the associated fee. The license ensures that hosts comply with the necessary legal requirements, thereby maintaining the standards of tourism in the country.

Regulation in the Galapagos Islands

It’s noteworthy that this regulation is applicable only to mainland Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands, a significant tourist destination, operate under their own special regime. This ensures that the unique environment and ecosystems of the islands are protected while accommodating tourists.

Guest Registration and Information Security

The regulation also mandates hosts to maintain a register of guests and provide this information to the Ministry of Tourism or other relevant authorities when required. This register must contain the full name of the service contractor, duration of stay, number of people (distinguishing adults from minors), and contact telephone numbers.

This information must be retained by the accommodation provider for six months. This provision not only ensures the guests’ information is secure but also makes it accessible if required by authorities, thereby enhancing the safety and security of tourism in Ecuador.

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