A University of Tasmania academic has cautioned against regulation of home-share accommodation in regional areas as such a move may hurt tourism and small business economies.
A paper by Louise Grimmer, Oskaras Vorobjovas-Pinta and Maria Massey from the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics appeared in the Annals of Tourism Research this month.
The paper said Airbnb listings in Tasmania had grown to more than 4000 since 2012.
It said state government data showed there was a 49-per-cent growth in Airbnb visitation between 2016-17 and 2017-18, from 487,098 visitors to 725,218 visitors.
The authors acknowledged that Airbnb listings increased visitor activity and led to higher levels of expenditure in local areas but could deprive locals of housing stock for long-term rentals of purchases.
They said it was fair for there to be no regulation when Airbnb commenced in Tasmania.
"The purpose of regulation should not be to stifle innovation but a balanced approach is required to protect stakeholders already operating in the specific sector being disrupted," the authors said.
They said calls for statewide regulation might impact regional and remote communities.
"In these locations, visitors staying in Airbnb accommodation are spending at local shops and eateries, and small businesses are reporting benefits from increased visitor numbers," they said.
"Clearly and importantly, regulation cannot be universal.
"Reflecting the differences between towns, cities and regions, and taking into account specific socio-economic status indicators, legislators must respond appropriately to myriad community concerns, tourism demands and urban planning and housing issues."
Airbnb public policy head for Australia and New Zealand, Brent Thomas, said the study showed how the accommodation platform helped grow and diversify the state's tourism industry.
“The majority of Airbnb listings are outside the inner-city areas of Hobart and Launceston, spreading the benefits of tourism across regional Tasmania," he said.
“Airbnb guests who stay in Tasmania spend more than $86 million a year and support hundreds of local jobs across Tasmania.”