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Competing with Airbnb

['Image courtesy of Town of Grand Falls-Windsor']
['Image courtesy of Town of Grand Falls-Windsor']

Council getting ahead of potential issues arising from popular Airbnb rentals

GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is considering putting some regulations in place regarding Airbnb accommodations.  

There is currently only one Airbnb listing registered with the town of Grand Falls-Windsor, but there are reports that more are operating in town, according to the Oct. 24 council minutes. 

The San Francisco-based Airbnb is an online community marketplace for people to list and book accommodations around the world. According to the company’s website, Airbnb accommodations are available in 65,000 cities and 191 countries.  

“If you have your house and you’re going away for two weeks, you can put it on Airbnb and have someone rent it while you’re not there,” Mark Whiffen, chairman of council’s economic development, tourism and heritage committee, explained to the Advertiser.  
“But some business-savvy people got involved and decided to start buying up property to use solely for the purpose of renting it on Airbnb.” 

In larger centers like Toronto and Vancouver, this is creating problems by driving up housing prices, said Whiffen.  
While Grand Falls-Windsor is not seeing effects like this from Airbnb, he said council wants to get ahead of the game and address any issues that could potentially arise.  
The town supports the use of Airbnb, according to Whiffen.  

“It’s an opportunity for us here in Grand Falls-Windsor to increase our accommodations in the absence of hotel space,” he said. “We look at that as an opportunity for growth for us, but we need to make sure it’s regulated fairly so we treat our hotels and other accommodations businesses fairly, and we don’t give Airbnb an advantage over them.” 

Right now, the town doesn’t have any plans in place, but the issue is on its agenda for the new year. 

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