Portland, Maine embraces home sharing with new ordinance

Eighty years ago, Maine added a single, iconic word to its license plate: Vacationland. It was an acknowledgment of what generations of Americans already knew: that this small state tucked away in the nation’s northeast corner, was one of its greatest gems.

In the decades since, Maine has continued to foster the tourist economy, from Portland to Presque Isle, Bangor to Bar Harbor, with 85 percent of Mainers supporting expanded tourism in their own communities.

This week, the City Council in Portland took a major step to advance the promise of Vacationland by passing innovative, comprehensive home sharing regulations for the Forest City.

Airbnb is proud to have worked with officials in Portland to craft these new rules, which recognize the economic opportunity home sharing is providing to residents and businesses throughout the City.

Over 500 hosts– nearly 70% of whom are women– welcomed 51,000 travelers to Portland in 2016, with the typical host earning nearly $10,000 in supplemental income by renting out their home for about four nights a month.

Portland’s new ordinance honors the historic tradition of vacation rentals on Portland’s islands, while also acknowledging how the growth of home sharing in mainland neighborhoods is helping people remain in their homes and spurring spending in local shops and restaurants.

Across Maine, municipalities are embracing home sharing to power their economy. Statewide, 3,700 active hosts earned over $26 million dollars in supplemental income in 2016, welcoming approximately 174,000 visitors to Vacationland — a 100% year-over-year increase in inbound guest arrivals.

And with a new agreement to automatically collect and remit lodging taxes on behalf of the Airbnb community, the growth in home sharing promises to support core public services throughout the Pine Tree State for generations to come.

We thank the Portland City Council for its thoughtful, cooperative approach and look forward to working with other municipalities to foster responsible home sharing in their communities.

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