Short-term rentals signal a boon for the travel industry

Short-term rentals are making a significant contribution to the recovery of the travel sector worldwide, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

In addition, they support not only destinations but also local communities. After all, 35 percent of Airbnb hosts worldwide claim that this activity represents an important financial means of survival.


Current trend

The global body suggests that these rentals have increased the number of available accommodations and helped spread visitors to a destination. They widen the participation of the local community in tourism and offer travelers a different and sometimes unique option.

Travelers are ready to explore the world

The WTTC report, Best Practices for Short-Term Rentals, produced with the support of Airbnb, looked at the experiences of cities around the world to offer best practices to apply to this type of accommodation, which has become a popular choice among travelers.

The report outlines recommendations and best practices for short-term rentals, a meaningful and rapidly growing travel and management segment of the tourism industry.

The report provides case studies of destinations such as Cape Town, Sydney and Seattle, among others, to help address the growing popularity of these accommodations. It includes simple policy recommendations such as data sharing, registration, smart taxation and long-term community investment approaches for the benefit of all stakeholders in travel and tourism.

Julia Simpson, president and CEO of WTTC said: “As we begin to recover from the devastation of the pandemic, we must focus on each of our industries to improve their performance. The best practices offered in this report will provide governments with key policy recommendations to promote tourism in their destinations while supporting their local communities’.

Simpson said travelers are ready to explore the world again and their return will also help boost the global economy.

Visitors are often drawn to short-term rentals for their flexibility and amenities, such as full-size kitchens, office space and gardens, as well as the ability to stay in locations outside of traditional tourist areas.

According to a survey of guests who stayed in Airbnb listings in 2021, 20 percent said that if it wasn’t for the lodging choice, they would have changed the length of their stay.

Kissimmee is regularly listed as one of Airbnb's top travel destinations in the US.  (photo: Experience Kissimmee)
Visitors are often drawn to short-term rentals for the flexibility and convenience they offer.

Short-term rentals provided a much-needed boost

Theo Yedinsky, Director of Global Policy at Airbnb, said: “Short-term rentals allow society to participate in the tourism economy. The income earned from housing helps many people mitigate the effects of inflation.

Yedinsky noted that about 35 percent of Airbnb hosts worldwide claim that this activity represents a significant economic livelihood. Additionally, short-term rentals help spread visitor spending across communities.

Carlos Mercado, CEO of the Puerto Rico Tourism Corporation, commented, “Throughout the pandemic, short-term rentals have provided a much-needed boost to the Travel and Tourism sector and our economy. The revenue generated by short-term rentals funds marketing efforts. which are critical to attracting 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 ensure short-term rentals continue to benefit and support the destination community.

Data sharing enables governments to monitor and manage short-term rental activities and helps inform data-driven policy decisions. To support this, Airbnb has created its City Portal as a single service for relevant data that governments may require.

Cape Town, South Africa benefited from this data to make tourism and housing policy decisions during a housing crisis in 2017. Meanwhile, officials in Sydney, Australia have taken steps to regulate short-term rentals , including the implementation of a digital recording system to achieve consistency among all stakeholders.

Finally, residents can benefit from additional income earned through housing. French authorities worked with Airbnb to ensure that the regulatory framework for short-term rentals was simple and proportionate for casual hosts.

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