The Byron Shire Council has limited the number of days properties can be listed on Airbnb to increase long-term housing. CREDIT:ISTOCK

NZ - Tourism groups urge action on short-stay properties

Tourism industry groups are asking the Victorian government to limit the number of days that properties can be listed on short-stay sites such as Airbnb to help tackle long-term rental shortages in regional areas.

Towns across regional Victoria, including those popular with tourists, have struggled to attract employees as the cost of rental properties soared during the pandemic.

The Victorian Tourism Industry Council and Accommodation Association of Australia argue Airbnb-style letting has reduced the number of houses available to long-term tenants and is hampering the economic recovery of businesses, some of which have been forced to limit operating hours because of staff shortages.

They want Victoria to follow other states, including NSW, that are encouraging owners to put their properties on the long-term rental market by imposing limits on the number of days they can be listed on short-stay sites throughout the year.

However, Airbnb insisted it was empowering everyday people to stay afloat as living costs rise.

Airbnb country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Susan Wheeldon, said her company was focused on growing tourism by making travel more accessible.

“The additional tourists being accommodated by Airbnb means more tourism dollars for local businesses – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes and retailers – which in turn helps support more jobs for locals,” she said.

Accommodation Association chief executive Richard Munro said Victoria now had among the most short-stay listings in Australia, but there was little government oversight.

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