PLP Welcomes Recognition Of Vacation Rentals

January 26, 2017 | 30 Comments

“The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party welcomes the news that the OBA has joined the PLP in acknowledging the significance of home sharing and vacation rentals and is moving forward to formally recognise the opportunities available for Bermudians,” according to Shadow Minister of Tourism Jamahl Simmons.

MP Simmons said, “Expansion of both vacation rentals and home sharing is good for Bermuda and good for Bermudians and the PLP sees it as a critical component for the economic empowerment of our people and for growing and diversifying our local accommodation offerings. This is precisely the reason why the PLP is holding a town hall meeting tomorrow evening to further educate Bermudians on this subject.

“We believe that a proper regulatory and fair approach towards this new product offering is required, but not at the expense of innovation and progress. Too often in Bermuda, innovation and progress has been overly regulated or overly taxed.

Jamahl Simmons Bermuda January 26 2017-FB

“In an environment in which it is already costly to do business and where the cost of accommodations is perceived as a disincentive among a significant portion of our target market, we must be mindful that we do not strangle this opportunity in the cradle.

“Hotels currently receive many concessions while vacation rentals do not. Thus any new regulations or new taxes on this industry in its infancy cannot be considered as truly levelling the playing field without greater thought and examination on the best path forward.

“We look forward to hearing more details from the government.

“For any Bermudian interested in learning more about the opportunities for vacation rentals and relevant online platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO, we encourage you to join us at our town hall meeting this Thursday night at Prospect Primary School auditorium starting at 7:30pm.

“There, you will have the opportunity to hear from the BTA and local experts already participating in and benefiting from this exciting aspect of our tourism economy.”

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  1. Decent Citizen says:

    I hate so say it, Folks have been doing this for years!

    We’ve been on AIRBNB for our Bermuda apartment for over two years now! Before that, and still continuing, Trip Advisor!

    This is like a Trump move!

    Taking credit for what MOST business minded locals have already been doing?

    It is NOT a NEW product!

    Bermuda

    • Equality, Jobs, Justice says:

      It’s not an issue unique to Bermuda.

      Authorities everywhere are looking to regulate and tax the Airbnb style of vacation.

  2. aceboy says:

    Taking credit where credit isn’t due, as usual.

    The playing field must be levelled, I agree. Hotels and Guesthouses pay ALL of the tax currently. Vacation rentals are in the same business, tourism. They should be a fair share of tax for advertising and promotion.

    Hotels pay a total of 11.75% of their revenue in tax, are subject to fire inspection as well as Health and Safety inspection and must be licensed.

    Let’s level that ground.

    • Gargoyle Wings says:

      Are you trying to tell us that the hotels and guesthouses, out of the goodness and kindness of their hearts, do not pass that tax on to their guests? Wow, that is super duper nice of them.

      • aceboy says:

        Oh they do, but that then immediately affects the rack rate they are able to charge….downwards. When the BTA introduced the 4.5% tax the hotels had a choice, charge the extra 4.5% to the guests on top of their existing rate or lower their rates and eat the tax to keep occupancy up. Or a combination of the two.

        That same choice will be needed from vacation rental owners.

    • Know the facts says:

      Aceboy, Well yes that is true…but does not tell the whole story. Remember, hotels can import many products, furniture, tile, paint, TVs, computers etc…. at 0% duty under the hotels concession act (I think that is what it is called). Airbnb renters do not have this benefit.

      But, I agree with you – the Airbnb / vacation home owners should pay something. If they pay something – then the hotel tax could possibly be reduced by a few percentage points.

      I don’t have the answer but Im glad that both the OBA and PLP agree that someone needs to find a fair and happy medium.

      • aceboy says:

        The concessions are going to be an issue, I agree.

        Currently hotels and guesthouses pay 11.75% in tax. 7.25% is OCCUPANCY tax, 4.5% the new BTA tax that is solely charged to provide the BTA with advertising and promotion that benefits anyone in the tourism industry.

        Is the new tax on vacation rental(let’s assume it to be 2.5%)paid to the BTA simply a contribution to advertising and promotion, or is it an occupancy tax? They are very different.

        If it is an occupancy tax then I would suggest that a 2.5/11.75 (or 2.5/7.25) % concession should be given to vacation rental owners who import supplies in the same way hotels and guesthouses are granted but ONLY for supplies related directly to the vacation units, not the home generally.

  3. Sorry Sir says:

    Odd that the PLP didn’t comment on what kind of impact this will have on rental prices.

    Guess they’d welcome anything that meant higher rental prices for their income properties…

    I’ve noticed that anything that could potentially raise rental prices, both sides of Government don’t say a single peep about what it means for the everyday man.

  4. Vote for Me says:

    Brilliant timing?

    Did the PLP and OBA collaborate to decide the date of the Town Hall?

    Min. Fahy announces the new emphasis on vacation rental homes on Wednesday and PLP holding a Town Hall Thursday (today)!!

    • watching says:

      Which one was scheduled and publicized first? The PLP.

      Methinks this is the OBA playing catch up.

      • hmmm says:

        This has been in play by the OBA for some time..PLP got wind of it and tried to take credit by throwing together a Town hall.

        Although, I don’t care, as it is good to see both groups agree and working on this.

      • 32n64w says:

        Wrong. Nice try.

        As can easily be concluded when looking at the work completed to date by the Ministry this has been in the works for quite some time. The PLP are just trying to take credit for it.

    • What went wrong says:

      OBA marching to the beat of the PLP’s drum.

      • Grassy one says:

        Hardly.

      • wahoo says:

        It is better this way as plp meetings only draw a small audience. But seriously this airbnb might be a new entity but holiday rentals is a very old idea VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) has been around a long time. The main thing people need to be aware of is that this like everything else requires effort and expenditure.

        The upside is that locals can get a better sense of how sensitive our tourism industry really is (hint hint).

      • Know the facts says:

        The PLP beat their own drum for so long that they put a hole in it – and there is not money left in the bank to pay for its repair.

  5. Dangel says:

    @ Decent Citizen – you are correct that residents on this island have been doing it for years. That said there are quite a few who have pulled their homes from the vacation rental business because of the OBA’s initiative of regulating thus taxing. Others have pulled their homes from vacation rentals as they were able to secure longer term contracts with persons connected to ACBDA.

    If residents/Bermudians decided to enter the vacation rental business it was done to increase revenue to live on our lovely but expensive island to live on. Some have used this method to pay mortgages or school their children.

    The OBA has to tread lightly that they do not tax the residents/Bermudians who chose this method per reasons already indicated.

    Yes the vacation rental business does impact hotel bed occupancy but the hotels are granted incentives for which the resident homeowner would not be. I am certain that the OBA has pursued this avenue to raise additional revenue. However it appears that when revenue is being raised it is the residents/Bermudians that are affected more than business owners.

  6. Terry says:

    Never mind.

  7. Equality, Jobs, Justice says:

    This, like most issues could be spun many ways.

    Whoever tries to regulate and tax will get accused of squeezing the little guy. If no action is taken, an opposition could say that hotels that employ many people are disadvantaged and jobs could be lost.

    However, when some fairly unimpressive hotels are upwards of $400 per night there is a genuine demand for this type of tourism.

  8. flikel says:

    This is not a new business, nor is this a business in its infancy. This has been going on for years!

    So what’s the plan here? Try to put this under Government control and whoever is in power can then take credit for introducing a ‘new’ business to the average Bermudian?

    This is not new…..Government please stay away and do not interfere. If the customers of Airbnb wanted a hotel or wanted the assurance of Government oversight, then they would not be on Airbnb!

  9. Bermyman says:

    Ummm! The BTA are the ones modernising, advertising and upgrading our vacation rental platform. Nohing to do with the PLP!

    • sage says:

      Ummm, it doesn’t need modernising, advertising or upgrading, it has been working well, cut MP’s salaries instead.

  10. Trail User says:

    The Hotels already get breaks I am sure so just let the little guy give a product that hotels really don’t do much of now.

  11. clearasmud says:

    In the Isle of Man this is handled by the Tourism Authority who inspect properties and issue annual licenses which must be clearly posted for a visitor to see. No one needs the minister’s help to use AirBnB.

  12. Brian says:

    Snap OBA beat them to it

  13. legalgal says:

    Only “recognition” is an opportunity to tax an already existent business.

  14. Ocean Bound says:

    Hotels have received concessions on import duty and the employer’s portion of payroll tax. Small business gets neither. Both Governments have driven our tourism product to cruise ships which contribute very little to employment on island. Air arrivals down. Cruise ship numbers up. There is both causation and correlation there. No one needs the OBA or the PLP to help them get on AirBnB. This is a pathetic overreach ahead of the America’s Cup in search of more money to overspend with. I wish both parties would leave us alone.

  15. just wondering says:

    well if you want to tax and regulate the small properties its only fair then that they get the same concessions and breaks as the larger hotels – yes?

  16. Point boy says:

    There’s always a reply, often late. But it cracks me up that every initiative the OBA puts forward, the plp now have a better one.

    What a bunch of losers. Can’t figure out how to clean up their own mess.

    But are very happy for the OBA to clean shop. Then think the voters are to stupid enough to notice. Oh wait…..

  17. Point boy says:

    There’s always a reply, often late. But it cracks me up that every initiative the OBA puts forward, the plp now have a better one.

    What a bunch of losers. Can’t figure out how to clean up their own mess.

    But are very happy for the OBA to clean shop. Then think the voters are to stupid enough to not notice. Oh wait…..

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