The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched a new ground-breaking 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.

The report, ’Best practices for short-term rentals’, developed by WTTC with the support of Airbnb, leading global platform for short-term rentals, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “As we begin to recover from the ravages of the pandemic, we must focus on building back better in each of our industries.

“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.

“We know travellers are ready to explore the world once again and their return will also help power the world’s much-needed economic recovery.”

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.

According to a survey of guests who stayed in Airbnb listings in 2021, 20% indicated that if their choice of property were not an option, they would have changed their length of stay to ensure they were able to book their preferred property.

Theo Yedinsky, Airbnb Global Policy Director, said: “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.

“In fact, approximately 35% of Airbnb hosts globally say they host to help cover the rising cost of living. Additionally, short-term rentals help spread visitor spending through communities.

“As travel returns, governments and tourism officials can partner with short-term rental platforms like Airbnb to develop fair, reasonable rules that strengthen destinations, and preserve these economic benefits for communities and local residents.”

Carlos Mercado, Executive Director Puerto Rico Tourism Company, which commissioned the report said, “Throughout the pandemic, short term rentals provided a much-needed boost not only to our Travel & Tourism sector, but to our economy.

“The revenue short term rentals generate is used to fund our marketing efforts which is critical to driving international visitors back to Puerto Rico.”

According to the report, governments can consider adopting data sharing, registration, smart taxation, and long-term community investment plans to help ensure short-term rentals continue to benefit and support the destination’s community.

The report analysed a number of popular destinations which have benefitted from implementing balanced rules to address short-term rentals.

Furthermore, partnering with short term rentals platforms on digital registration and data-sharing agreements, supports compliance by short-term rental operators, while providing governments with insights to make decisions on how to manage the industry.

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

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