October 29, 2018 – As many areas of the province face increased fiscal restraint and look for ways to ease financial burdens, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador is encouraging municipalities to consider the tourism industry as a key economic driver for communities.
Tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador is big business, with over 2,600 tourism-related businesses, 78% of which are small businesses. Tourism is a prominent employer and a key component to economic diversification, particularly for rural areas of the province. There are almost 20,000 jobs in tourism industries – that’s 9% of all jobs in the province. By tapping in to the potential of tourism in a region, and working to encourage and support local tourism growth, municipalities can realize not only economic benefits, but also social, cultural and environmental value.
One particular source of untapped tourism revenue remains in the unregulated environment of short-term rentals and unlicensed accommodations. The lack of modern regulation for a growing portion of accommodators has had significant impacts on the tourism industry when it comes to revenues, not to mention delivering on a brand promise and an elevated standard of quality assurance. Municipalities are missing out on a significant source of business tax when unlicensed accommodations operate in their jurisdiction.
“Tourism has shown its ability to strengthen and revitalize communities all over the world, but the industry is not without it’s challenges,” says Hospitality NL Chair, Larry Laite. “We want to encourage municipalities to ensure they explore every opportunity to grow the tourism industry in their region, while also taking steps to understand and address, where possible, the magnitude and implications of an unregulated tourism economy in their communities.”
Recently, the City of St. John’s announced a number of projected tax increases for residents in order to balance its budget.* While Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador understands that collecting lost business taxes from short-term rental operators is not a comprehensive solution to increased taxes, we continue to advocate that all levels of government must work together to create an environment wherein municipalities can take steps to ensure that all accommodation businesses are operating in a fair and equitable manner.
“There is room for everyone in the tourism tent, including operators of non-traditional accommodations on sites such as Airbnb” add Laite. “The tourism industry welcomes all service and experience providers who contribute to the success of the industry and as it continues to grow, it is imperative that all stakeholders work together toward a common vision for Newfoundland and Labrador tourism.”
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial tourism industry association for 35 years, is dedicated to advancing growth in tourism through advocacy efforts, skills and knowledge development and membership and networking opportunities.
Manager, Policy and Communications
Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador
P: 709-722-2000 ext. 231
*Please note: The City of St. John’s tax increases referenced above are projections only; no increases have been confirmed.