Call to Action! Advocate for Tourism on the Issue of Unlicensed Accommodations

Call to Action! Advocate for Tourism on the Issue of Unlicensed Accommodations

For the last number of years, as your provincial tourism industry association, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador has been working in earnest on the issue of unlicensed accommodations. The following is a timeline of some key events that have taken place over the last 12-14 months (note: this is not an exhaustive list of all Hospitality NL advocacy efforts relating to this issue).

February 2017 Hospitality NL makes the sharing economy the focus of the 2017 Conference and Trade Show, with keynote speaker, Jesse Hirsh delving into the new reality of tourism, travel and the sharing economy, as well as leading a panel of industry stakeholders on the impacts
May 2017 Hospitality NL reaches out to the Public Policy division at Airbnb to express concern and initiate a working relationship with parties here in Newfoundland and Labrador
June 20, 2017 Press Release: Hospitality NL continues to lead efforts to understand opportunities and challenges of sharing economy
June 23, 2017 Chair of Hospitality NL, Dion Finlay, headlines episode of CBC’s Cross Talk discussing regulation of unlicensed accommodations
June 27, 2017 Hospitality NL arranges first meeting with representatives from Airbnb, industry (Hospitality NL’s Board of Directors) and the Provincial Government (Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry & Innovation) to discuss industry’s goals and issues presented by the use of their platform by unlicensed accommodations
July 23, 2017 Chair of Hospitality NL, Dion Finlay, appears on NTV Evening News Hour discussing regulation of unlicensed accommodations
August 16, 2017 Hospitality NL sends letter to the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation (and copying other Ministers) calling on Government to address the issue of unlicensed accommodations
September 14, 2017 Hospitality NL arranges second meeting with representatives from Airbnb, industry (Hospitality NL’s Board of Directors) and the Provincial Government (Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry & Innovation) to discuss next steps for exploring and implementing change in local industry with respect to Airbnb’s platform
September 18, 2017 Press Release: Hospitality NL highlights tourism priorities and significant challenges ahead of municipal elections with focus on unlicensed accommodations
September 27, 2017 Hotel Association of Canada launches national campaign for Fair Rules in the short-term rental industry and releases study: An Overview of Airbnb and the Hotel Sector in Canada: A Focus on Hosts with Multiple Units
November 22, 2017 Hospitality NL sends letter to newly elected Mayor of St. John’s, Danny Breen, and meets with Council to discuss the issue of unlicensed accommodations in the city
February 15, 2018 Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry & Innovation send letter to Airbnb Public Policy team indicating openness and desire to work together to address issue of unlicensed NL accommodations on their platform
March 15, 2018 Hospitality NL sends letter to Premier of NL outlining significant impact of unlicensed accommodations, urging Government to act on the issue and requesting a meeting as soon as possible to discuss solutions.
April 2018 Hospitality NL Chair, Larry Laite, does several media interviews with VOCM and CBC Radio regarding the issue of unlicensed accommodations; further meetings with St. John’s City Council also take place.

On April 30, Hospitality NL issued a press release calling for immediate action by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to address the issue of unlicensed accommodations operating within the province in direct contravention to the Tourist Establishments Act.

Hospitality NL wishes to work with Government on behalf of the tourism industry to identify and implement a collective solution that will help to strengthen and grow tourism, protect consumers, encourage fair business competition, allow for alternate revenue streams for residents, and collect proper taxes from operators.

Hospitality NL is the collective voice of the provincial tourism industry and we have been working hard to represent your best interests in our advocacy efforts on this issue. However, the time has come for individual industry members to tell their stories and help affect change! Hearing first-hand from tourism operators how unlicensed accommodations are impacting businesses will help to drive home the message that this is a significant issue that must be urgently addressed, and will encourage the Provincial Government to take action. Below you will find a sample letter to government that you can download and customize to your business’ needs.

DOWNLOAD SAMPLE LETTER

I encourage you to share this communication with your colleagues in tourism so that others can take action as well. The Board and staff of Hospitality NL are committed to continuing a concerted advocacy effort on the issue of unlicensed accommodations. Tourism is big business in Newfoundland and Labrador and the industry has taken great strides in recent years, however the potential for further growth and development is still there. Hospitality NL looks forward to working with you in order to realize that potential.

Sincerely,

Larry Laite
Chair

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