For immediate release
June 20, 2017
St. John’s – Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial tourism industry association, is continuing focused efforts to fully understand and address the opportunities and challenges presented by the sharing economy, a significant contributor to today’s travel and tourism landscape.
“The sharing economy is not a trend, but rather represents the evolution of the travel and tourism industry in times of technological advancement and a desire by travellers to really experience a destination, as opposed to just visiting a destination,” says Hospitality NL Chair, Dion Finlay.
Criticism of the sharing economy often relates to regulatory issues, and currently here in Newfoundland and Labrador, the biggest impact in the travel and tourism industry is occurring in the accommodation sector. Businesses that offer accommodation services are often overseen by federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations. For example, under the Tourist Establishments Act in Newfoundland and Labrador, roofed accommodation providers must meet several requirements and obtain a Tourist Establishment License in order to operate. Platforms such as Airbnb make it easier for unlicensed accommodators to operate without following regulations or paying associated costs. A regulated business environment helps to ensure the safety and satisfaction of consumers as well as the overall quality of tourism offerings.
Hospitality NL maintains that the key to success in the new reality of a sharing economy is equity – ensuring all tourism and travel product providers operate in the spirit of legitimate competition and abide by all regulatory and licensing requirements in order to operate in the province. This includes regulatory, legal, taxation, health and safety and insurance laws.
“Newfoundland and Labrador is well-known for its spirit of hospitality and the uniqueness of our people, culture and natural surroundings,” adds Finlay. “If we are to continue to provide the quality experiences and services that the travelling public demands, we must ensure that the tourism industry is adaptable and able to fully realize the economic benefits of the industry in this province.”
In an effort to foster support from related partners and to better understand the impacts, Hospitality NL made the topic of the sharing economy a focus of the 2017 Conference and Trade Show, generating productive discussion with experts, industry, travellers and other key stakeholders regarding their views on the issue. Hospitality NL has organized a meeting with representatives from Airbnb as well as the provincial government to discuss potential opportunities to address the issue.
The global travel and tourism industry is endeavoring to understand the new reality in which the industry is operating, with many jurisdictions experimenting with regulations meant to protect consumers, encourage fair business competition, allow for alternate revenue streams for residents, and collect proper taxes from operators.
“Hospitality NL is working diligently to better understand the potential solutions that have already been implemented in other jurisdictions around the world and what the successes and shortfalls of those plans have been,” says Finlay.
Hospitality NL looks forward to continuing to collaborate with partners and stakeholders to understand the full impact of the sharing economy and how the tourism and travel industry can address challenges and ultimately, thrive within it.
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador is the provincial tourism industry association dedicated to advancing growth in tourism through advocacy efforts, skills and knowledge development and membership and networking opportunities. A proud partner of the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board, committed to Vision 2020 and achieving industry’s collective goal of increasing visitor spending to $1.6 billion annually by 2020.
Manager, Policy & Communications
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador
P: 709-722-2000 ext. 231