(FILES) In this file illustration picture taken on November 22, 2019, shows the logo of the online lodging service Airbnb displayed on a tablet in Paris. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

EU - Draft short-term rental accommodation proposal puts travel and economic recovery at risk

GEORGE TOWN: Airbnb hosts have objected to the Penang government's draft short-term rental accommodation (STRA) guidelines, saying it will make it harder for them to earn a living.

Airbnb raised concerns about proposals for local residential councils and joint management bodies (JMBs) to cap STRA to three nights a week and 180 nights a year; and to prevent STRA in commercial strata buildings, unless 75 per cent of owners agree to it.

Airbnb said there should be no limits on a traveller's stay, as they would hamper Penang's tourism growth and make it harder for travellers to explore the region.

Airbnb also wanted STRA to be allowed in commercial titled strata buildings.

As a starting position, STRA should continue to be allowed and JMBs and property owners could introduce relevant by-laws for STRA activity in the building as they deemed necessary.

Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan Airbnb public policy head Mich Goh said with destinations across the region competing for tourist dollars, it was vital that Penang's ability to capture a slice of the market, growing the local economy and creating jobs were not hamstrung.

She said these draft suggestions would also make it harder for locals to earn a living during a time of rising costs.

"State-level guidance for STRA should boost, and not stifle, Penang's tourism economy by ensuring the continued availability and variety of travel accommodation.

"We strongly believe STRA can and should be regulated in a fair and balanced manner for the benefit of all stakeholders, including hosts, who want to share their homes responsibly, guests who look for unique and family-friendly accommodation at different price points, and local neighbourhood businesses and services who benefit from our Hosts and guests," she said.

Goh said Airbnb would work closely with the Penang government to formulate the guidelines but called for more stakeholders to be consulted.

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