This week Airbnb gave evidence at the Tasmanian Planning Commission in a bid to strike a fair balance for home sharing rules in Australia’s island state.
The Tasmanian Government is proposing to make it harder for anyone in the state to list their home on Airbnb for more than 42 nights a year – regardless of whether you’re listing your primary residence or investment property.
We think that’s over the top and out of step with other cities around the world. It’s also at odds with the sort of progressive, easy to understand regulation that other cities and states around Australia are passing.
While we’re all for regulation and rules to govern home sharing, they’ve got to be fair and balanced. We know the current proposal will have significant unintended consequences on the state economy and tourism sector if implemented.
Tasmanians have been quick to embrace the sharing economy. In the 12 months to May 2016, the Apple Isle welcomed 118,000 Airbnb guests – a figure which represents about 10 percent of the state’s total annual inbound tourists.
If the proposed rules are implemented we anticipate it could slash Airbnb visitors to the state by as much as half – a poor outcome for the local economy, local jobs and and for people wanting to earn a modest supplemental income through listing their home or spare room on Airbnb.
Not only would it stand to impact approximately five percent of Tasmania’s annual tourism, the rules would significantly hamper the government’s ambition to grow the state’s tourism sector in a sustainable and responsible way.
But worst of all, the proposed rules will hurt everyday Tasmanians – mums and dads, young families and seniors – who open their homes or spare rooms to welcome travellers from around the world. On average, the total amount generated through Airbnb by a host in Tasmania is just $6,400 a year; and while that might not sound like a lot to some we know the impact of that money can often be life changing.
Our hosts in Tasmania tell us they use the income they generate through Airbnb to help pay off their mortgage, pay bills and afford groceries. It’s a modest but welcome boost to the hip pocket for many.
We look forward to working with the Government to get the rules right. We’ll be working to implement regulation that’s fair, easy to understand and allows for home sharing across the state rather than stifling it.