Airbnb can play a 'critical' role' in Queensland's tourism recovery: Oxford Economics


As Airbnb stands ready to work with governments to help local communities get back on their feet, new research from Oxford Economics indicates the platform's community will play a key role in driving a long-term recovery in tourism and jobs growth in Queensland.


It comes as Airbnb proposes new statewide regulations that would help grow the Queensland economy through a form of regulatory stimulus, while also addressing the needs of the community. 


The proposed measures - which include modernised and statewide planning rules, an industry-wide Code of Conduct, and a data-sharing framework - would help maximise the economic benefits of the short-term rental industry, in addition to those identified by Oxford Economics.


Oxford Economics' new report explores the total economic impact of Airbnb in Australia. Commissioned by Airbnb, the landmark report found Airbnb was now a valuable pillar of Queensland's tourism industry, contributing more than $1.8 billion to Gross State Product and supporting 16,500 jobs for Queenslanders in 2019 alone.  


The report* also highlighted the powerful multiplier effect Airbnb guest spending has within local communities. In 2019, Airbnb guests spent a total of more than $1.6 billion in Queensland, including:

  • $104.7 million in Cairns

  • $323.7 million on the Sunshine Coast

  • $272 million in Brisbane

  • $279.6 million on the Gold Coast

  • $33.5 million in Townsville


James Lambert, Oxford Economics' Director of Economic Consulting in Asia, said: "Airbnb is well placed to play an important role in bringing tourists, and their spending, back to destination economies.


"Airbnb could play an important role in supporting the earlier recovery of domestic travel by helping households, particularly those who have substituted an international trip with a domestic one, discover new areas in their own country to visit.


"Specifically, Airbnb can facilitate and inspire domestic travel in areas outside tourist hotspot locations by offering unique listings and experiences across regional markets."


Derek Nolan, Airbnb's Head of Public Policy for Australia, said: "The Queensland Airbnb community - including our hosts and guests - stand ready to help in any way we can to not only help tourism recover, but grow sustainably into the future. That's especially true in regional Queensland, where local communities have been doing it tough.


"In the current environment, intrastate tourism will play a more pivotal role in Queensland's economy than ever before and will serve as a major lifeline for many regional communities. This focus on intrastate travel means communities have to be able to accommodate affordable, longer-term stays for travellers and their families to help build more resilient local economies.


"We recognise the need for innovative regulatory frameworks that address the needs of hosts, guests and the broader community, while also actively fostering tourism and job growth. Our proposed regulatory stimulus package would not only provide certainty and a boost for local tourism economies, but also help deal with the very rare and isolated negative incidents that do occur across all providers.


"The vast majority of local Airbnb hosts are everyday Queenslanders using their home to generate extra income to combat rising costs of living and pay down mortgages - who want to do the right thing by their community. 


"We are committed to working collaboratively with the Queensland Government to implement sensible rules that achieve consistency and certainty, get the balance right and ensure tourism continues growing sustainably for the benefit of all Queenslanders."


An innovative regulatory framework for Queensland's short-term rental industry would include:

  • Modernising planning rules at the statewide level (as opposed to council by council) to create a STR regulatory environment that balances hosts' and community needs;

  • A robust industry-wide Code of Conduct; and

  • A data-sharing framework that helps drive compliance with new statewide home sharing rules and includes adequate safeguards to protect privacy.


*Oxford Economics notes that since their independent study "captures the growing economic impact of Airbnb over the recent historical period 2015 to 2019, it is indicative of longer term trends".


About Oxford Economics

Oxford Economics was founded in 1981 as a commercial venture with Oxford University's business college to provide economic forecasting and modelling to UK companies and financial institutions expanding abroad. Since then it has become one of the world's foremost independent global advisory firms.


About Airbnb

Airbnb is one of the world's largest marketplaces for unique, authentic places to stay and things to do, offering over 7 million accommodations and 40,000 handcrafted activities, all powered by local hosts. An economic empowerment engine, Airbnb has helped millions of hospitality entrepreneurs monetize their spaces and their passions while keeping the financial benefits of tourism in their own communities. With more than half a billion guest arrivals to date, and accessible in 62 languages across 220+ countries and regions, Airbnb promotes people-to-people connection, community and trust around the world.

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