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WTTC Reveals Best Practices for Cities to Manage Airbnb-type Rentals

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) on Thursday released a new report that outlines recommendations and best practices for jurisdictions to manage short-term rentals – a fast growing and important segment of the Travel & Tourism sector.

Developed by WTTC, the report was carried out with the support of Airbnb, a leading global platform for short-term rentals.

The paper draws from the experiences of cities around the world to offer easy-to-implement best practices for this type of accommodation, which has become a popular choice amongst travellers.

Photo source: Airbnb

“The best practices offered in this report will provide governments with key policy recommendations that will both promote tourism in their destinations while supporting those local communities,” Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said.

According to the global tourism body, the Travel & Tourism sector’s ability to welcome travellers has increased due in part to the rising popularity of short-term rentals.

Guests are often drawn to short-term rentals for their flexibility and amenities they offer, such as kitchens, office spaces and gardens, and the ability to stay in locations outside of traditional tourist zones.

Photo source: Airbnb

The paper suggests short-term rentals have increased the number of accommodations available and helps the spread of visitors in a destination, expanding local community participation in tourism and offers a different and sometimes unique option to travellers.

How cities can benefit:
Case studies from popular destinations

To help address the increased popularity of these accommodations, the report offers case studies from destinations such as Cape Town, Sydney, and Seattle, amongst others.

It includes simple policy recommendations such as data sharing, registration, smart taxation, and long-term community investment approaches to benefit all Travel & Tourism stakeholders and can inform regulation.

Sydney, Australia, has taken steps to regulate short-term rentals, including a digital registration system to achieve consistency across all stakeholders.

Data sharing allows governments to keep track and manage short-term rental activities and helps inform data-driven policy decisions. To support this, Airbnb built its City Portal as a one-stop shop for relevant data governments might require.

Cape Town, South Africa, benefitted from this data to form decisions on tourism and housing policy during an affordable housing crisis in 2017.

Governments can also benefit from the economic activity and tax short-term rentals generate for their destinations. In Puerto Rico, the increase in tax revenue has facilitated the funding of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s activities.

Lastly, residents can benefit from the extra income earned through hosting.

In France, the authorities collaborated with Airbnb to ensure the regulatory framework for short-term rentals was simple and proportionate for casual hosts.

According to Theo Yedinsky, Airbnb Global Policy Director, approximately 35 percent of Airbnb property owners globally say they host to help cover the rising cost of living.

“Short-term rentals allows everyday people to take part in the tourism economy, and the income earned through hosting is helping many people navigate the impacts of inflation,” he said, adding that short-term rentals also help spread visitor spending through communities.

The report in full can be found here.

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