Changes to the way that tourism accommodation is regulated must have consumer safety and job creation as top priorities, according to the Accommodation Association of Australia.

Speaking on the day of the release of a NSW Government options paper on the issue, the Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Munro said there must be a level playing field for all providers of tourism accommodation.

“Hotels, motels and other forms of bricks-and-mortar accommodation premises are compelled to meet building fire safety standards, have appropriate levels of insurance in place and comply with Building Code of Australia requirements for disability access,” he said.

“If it’s good enough for hotels and motels, the same rules should apply to sharing economy providers.

“If they aren’t, the risk to consumer safety will increase and jobs will be lost,” he said.

Munro has challenged claims by Airbnb that its presence in Australia has created jobs.

“Hotels and motels employ a large range of employees directly including cleaners, chefs, maintenance, gardeners, accountants, sales/marketing staff, bar staff and front-office managers, among numerous other positions – what types of jobs have been created at Airbnb properties and how much State government payroll tax have they paid?” he said.

“Almost certainly the answer is none and we invite them to counter with evidence if this is not the case.

“As for claims Airbnb has created jobs, it appears as if some of these jobs already existed. The reality is Airbnb is taking jobs away from our members, particularly in regional areas who have been operating compliant businesses for decades,” he said.

As it did with the recent NSW Parliamentary inquiry, Munro said the Accommodation Association would “actively participate in the process of responding to the options paper, with the Association’s position to reflect the views of its hundreds of members across NSW”.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management