‘Airbnb Arrangement Merits Close Examination’

March 10, 2017 | 13 Comments

“We welcome this new agreement for the positives that could be generated for Bermuda,” Shadow Tourism Minister Jamahl Simmons said, adding that “with Bermuda’s history of promoting monopolies as well as over-regulating and over- taxing new, competitive and innovative entrepreneurial enterprises, this new arrangement between the BTA and Airbnb merits close examination.”

BTA Signs “Major” Agreement With Airbnb

Earlier this week it was announced that the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] and Airbnb have signed a “major agreement that will help to promote Bermuda as a world-class destination for leisure, group travel and tourism investment.”

A BTA spokesperson said, “This partnership will also create a framework that opens a dialogue between the Government of Bermuda and Airbnb to discuss topical industry matters, including marketing and regulation.

“In line with one of the main objectives of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Airbnb will share its aggregated data to be included in analysing and evaluating the tourism industry’s performance holistically.”

Airbnb’s Shawn Sullivan said: “Airbnb plays an increasingly important role in the Bermuda tourism industry with 257 listings already across the island and a typical host earns $14,900 USD per year. Today’s partnership brings new opportunities to grow and strengthen the Bermuda economy overall.”

Shadow Tourism Minister Jamahl Simmons’ Comments

Mr Simmons said, “With Bermuda’s history of promoting monopolies as well as over-regulating and over- taxing new, competitive and innovative entrepreneurial enterprises, this new arrangement between the BTA and Airbnb merits close examination.

“Our specific concerns are:

  • “1] That Airbnb remain an option for the industry and participation with their services not become mandatory now, or in the future.
  • “2] The regulations suggested by Airbnb not be utilized to drive their competitors out of the local market now, or in the future.
  • “3] That the tax burden and regulations will be too onerous, stifle the growth of this industry and deter Bermudians from entering the market.

“The vacation rental industry is for the most part, not being driven by the wealthy, elite and privileged. Many are just regular Bermudians trying to make a few dollars in an economy where jobs continue to be lost and the only job growth has been for non-Bermudians. Unlike the larger properties, they receive no concessions of note and none seem on the horizon under the OBA.

“The growth and strengthening of this option represents an opportunity to provide a lower cost choice for visitors to our island, widens and diversifies our appeal and provides our visitors with an authentic, 100% Bermudian experience.

“We welcome this new agreement for the positives that could be generated for Bermuda and hope that our concerns will be allayed.”

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Comments (13)

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  1. Andrew dice clay says:

    And if the government said that the sea water was salty I could see the possible plp response would be

    While the statement by government that sea water is salty looks possible we at the plp believe that it still merits close examination.”

    • mixitup says:

      Isn’t this what oppositions do? Or do they remain silent and allow the Gov’t to ram anything down the countries throat un-challenged.

      • Tired Bermudian says:

        Oppositions should only comment on things when they actually have something of substance to say.

      • bdaboy says:

        Those are plantation questions, they will not be answered

      • Anbu says:

        If they were half as good in gov as they r in opposition we wouldnt be where we r now. Too little too late

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    Dear Mr. Simmons,

    Where to those concerns come from? Or are you just raising negatives in order to frighten people?

    I am not aware of any law that could make participation in Airbnb mandatory and I would have thought that any such law would be unconstitutional.

    Please explain where your concern comes from.

  3. Bermie says:

    I agree… what if the agreement says that every hotel bed now has to use an air mattress. What if every hotel has to rename themselves as airbnb. What if we all have to turn our houses into airbnb rental locations and give all proceeds to Oba. I am sure glad the plp is here to watch over these things and make sure the OBA is not corrupt…. rest easy Bermuda, de plp is watching out and keeping the govt honest

  4. Bermie says:

    I’m a little confused. Why did BTA have to sign any sort of agreement with Airbnb? Bermudians have been renting through this site for some time now already.

    • Hope says:

      Most likely, in my opinion, to gain access to the market data about Bermuda rentals…

    • Bda says:

      Air BnB will share their data with the BTA

    • Kathy says:

      Because now you will have to pay the govt tax and they will know if you dont!

  5. Chris Famous says:

    The answer is BTA will gain from AIRBNB imposing a tax (4-5%) on what ever bookings go through their site.

  6. Bermuda Now says:

    What a pile of rubbish for the BTA to get involved. The whole thing about AirBnb is it’s all private citizen to private citizen.

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