Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia (TIABC) is urging civic
politicians across B.C., as well as the provincial government, to
develop and enforce regulations to deal with the proliferation of
short-term vacation rental (STRs) accommodation in dozens of communities
across the province.
During a lively and engaging panel at the UBCM conference in Victoria,
panelists and delegates talked about the shrinking and unaffordable
rental pool in many communities that has caused residents to leave and
contributed to the difficulty employers have in attracting employees.
CEO Walt Judas, TIABC said, "The crux of the issue is about finding
affordable accommodation for employees who choose to work in tourism or
any one of a number of industries in communities around the province.
It’s difficult enough to recruit seasonal employees, let alone finding
them a place to live. We need to find ways to return some of the
short-term rentals back into the longer-term rental pool to help address
the problem. In this case, regulation and taxation makes sense.”
that there is no one solution to the complex issue of short-term
vacation rentals, TIABC suggested the province can play a role by
eliminating the exemption on PST and the Municipal & Regional District
Tax that owners of properties with less than four rooms receive under
“With a near zero vacancy rate, the ability to attract the talent we
need to continue to build our tourism economy is seriously hampered when
potential residents cannot find a place to live. Without skilled
personnel, we run the risk of seeing a decline in service levels and
that doesn’t bode well for our industry and reputation,” said President,
CEO Paul Nursey, Tourism Victoria.
The organization also urged local government delegates at UBCM to
develop and/or enforce their own community regulations on STRs, to not
only compel property owners to legally offer rooms for rent, but to
level the playing field for traditional accommodation providers (hotels,
B&Bs, resorts) who pay significant provincial and business taxes.
“Short-term rentals are an important part of a diverse range of
accommodation options in Tofino, offering a unique way of experiencing a
visit to our community while providing a source of income to property
owners. For over a decade, we’ve taken a balanced approach to regulating
short-term rentals, but a growing number of unlicensed short-term
rentals and the subsequent loss of long-term rentals for residents and
workers has forced us to take a far more proactive approach to education
and enforcement," said Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne. "Not only are we
seeing success, but also residents, traditional accommodation operators,
and local government are finding ways to dialogue about housing
solutions and work together to create a fair playing field so that
everybody wins – including our guests."
The session on STRs took place one day after delegates passed a
resolution that committed UBCM to working with several provincial
government ministries to review the current tax policy that prevents
small accommodation providers and online platforms such as Airbnb from
collecting the requisite accommodation taxes that could add millions of
dollars in revenues to provincial coffers and bolster marketing funds
for community destination marketing organizations.
The Tourism Industry
Association of British Columbia’s vision is “For tourism to be
recognized as one of British Columbia’s leading and sustainable
As the primary advocate for British
Columbia’s visitor economy, TIABC unites operators, sectors, DMOs,
government and residents to support and be passionate about making B.C.
a great place for tourism.
The Valley Voice
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