ST. JOHN’S, NL – Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador is speaking out again about unlicenced accommodations operating freely in the province with the help of platforms like Airbnb.
On Monday, April 30, the province’s tourism industry association issued a news release calling the provincial government to immediately address the issue.
Airbnb and other similar platforms make it easier for unlicenced accommodators to operate without following regulations or paying associated costs, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador indicated.
The province’s Tourist Establishments Act requires roofed accommodation providers to obtain a tourist establishment licence in order to operate, the organization points out.
“The tourism industry welcomes and encourages new and unique product offerings in the market that help us deliver on travellers’ expectations and differentiate Newfoundland and Labrador as a tourism destination,” Hospitality NL chair Larry Laite said.
“However, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador maintains that the key to success in the new reality of today’s travel and tourism sector is equity – ensuring all tourism and travel product providers operate in the spirit of legitimate competition, abide by all regulatory and licensing requirements in order to operate in the province, and join the industry network that is working collaboratively to grow tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Existing provincial legislation is ineffective and unenforceable, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador says, pointing to the existence of numerous studies, discussion papers, committees and rounds of public consultations over the years.
The organization indicated tourism operators are disappointed there are no consequences of operating without a tourist establishment licence. The group said it wants to work with government on behalf of the tourism industry to come up with a suitable solution for everyone.
“Tourism is big business in Newfoundland and Labrador and the industry is committed to professionalism, quality assurance and delivering high quality tourism services and attractions according to global standards,” Laite said.
“There are more than 2,600 tourism-related businesses in this province, 78 per cent of which are small businesses; annual tourism spending has reached almost $1.13 billion; and tourism supports approximately 20,000 jobs or nine per cent of all jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“However, the industry is capable of much more and this significant issue is negatively impacting our ability to grow and compete on a global scale.”