Palermo becomes the first city in South Italy to collect tourist tax through Airbnb

Palermo is the first city in South Italy to reach an agreement with Airbnb, ensuring that the tourist tax will be collected through the platform for all travelers. The agreement, that follows the ones with the City of Genoa, Bologna and Florence, represents a turning point in the simplification of the payment and collection of the tourism tax, helping to completely eliminate the risk of tax fraud. According to estimates by the Municipality, the additional annual revenue deriving from the agreement is expected to be about €700,000.

From 1 April, Airbnb will collect the tourist tax on behalf of the hosts, and will remit it to the City of Palermo, when the booking is made through the platform. The agreement states that checkout prices on Airbnb will include tourist tax (€1.5 per person for a maximum of four nights), which will be remitted directly to the City of Palermo quarterly.

There are 4,900 listings in Palermo (+24% YoY). Over the last 12 months 107,000 inbound guests have chosen to stay in the City (+34%) with an average stay of 3,6 nights. The typical host has shared his or her home for 35 nights a year and gained €2,000 in the process.

The Sicilian capital, named Italian Capital of Culture 2018, will host major events including the Manifesta exhibition. Recently it has seen the formation of a Home Sharing Club so that the 3000 local hosts can have their voices heard by the city and promote the culture of hospitality. A few months ago, the hosts in Palermo had the chance to meet Joe Gebbia, one of the Airbnb founders, during the launch of the Italian Villages project promoted by Airbnb in collaboration with Anci and Mibact.

Want to know more about the Home Sharing Club in Palermo? Read hosts Sonia and Gabriele’s stories.

“I received my first booking last June. To date, I have had 19 reservations. They are not much, I know. I am still learning thanks to other hosts I have met. I started this experience with Airbnb two years ago, when I decided to turn over a new leaf, supported by my partner and my daughters. I was just coming off of a bad experience at work. I had an apartment in Palermo, so I furnished it with some old furniture I restored myself. I got all the information about laws, best practices, taxes and anything I needed to know to in order to start home sharing and I just did it. As a host, I’ll never get tired of sharing this journey with others. Every time my guests leave, I feel I just made new friends. It’s not a job at all. It’s much, much more than that.”

Sonia, Airbnb host in Palermo

Sonia with her dog, Nina

“I am madly in love with Palermo. I studied and worked elsewhere for almost 10 years. Once I finished the University and I had collected enough work experience, I was getting really nostalgic about it. I had to come back here. What’s the point of leaving your city if you have never even tried to work there? It’s been 10 years since I moved back, and I love this city no matter what. Every place has its problems, which place doesn’t? But Palermo still retains that genuine charm. Yes, it has the sunshine, yes, it has the seaside, but Palermo is more than that. It’s all the little, imperfect things that feed your soul. Perfection is the enemy of the soul. I try to share my love for this beautiful city, which deserves to be appreciated. Who can do it better than all the travelers all over the world who return to tell others about the experience they had here in Palermo?”

Gabriele, Airbnb host in Palermo

Gabriele and his wife Laura