Accommodation providers and tourism groups have welcomed the state government’s new short stay bill, tabled in parliament last week.
The bill would make booking platform providers share data with the director of Building Control each financial quarter – including property listing periods, permit information, and the portion of the property being listed – or face penalties.
The information collected would be used to ensure compliance with existing regulation and help shape policy around the sector, along with housing more broadly.
This comes after Airbnb released data last week outlining its role in four housing markets in within the state’s North.
Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin agreed with the intention of the bill given the direction the accommodation sector was headed.
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Mr Griffin pointed to Tasmania Visitor Survey data from June this year that showed 18.6 per cent of visitors across the previous year stayed in hosted accommodation such as guest houses, bed and breakfasts, and those operated through online booking platforms like Airbnb.
“This visitor preference needs to be recognised and respected if Tasmania is to maintain its reputation as a contemporary visitor destination,” he said.
According to Mr Griffin, the leading concerns many have with the “private hosts” listing properties is whether they comply with existing regulations.
“The reasoning behind this concern is to ensure visitor safety is first and foremost for anyone providing an accommodation service,” he said.
Eacham Curry, director of corporate affairs at HomeAway – formerly Stayz – was pleased the government had “recognised there were issues” with its original bill and “clarified a number of concerns”.
Of particular interest for Mr Curry was mandating the collection of data for the entire short-term rental industry.
“This important move will allow state and local governments better to understand our sector and make more informed decisions about urban planning and infrastructure,” he said.
“Without a sound regulatory framework for short-term rentals, HomeAway fears that Tasmania’s booming tourist economy will be disadvantaged.”
Airbnb were also welcoming of the new bill, though still had to consider it fully.
A spokesperson said while the detail would be “closely” looked at, they were “supportive of the intent of the Bill which will ensure greater transparency and allow families to earn extra income”.
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