Healthy Tourism Commitment: Supporting the UK’s sustainable tourism recovery 

Key Takeaways

  • Urgent call to speed up delivery of a short-term lets register
  • Support for local tourism taxes where communities want them
  • Backing steps to end the practice of ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions

Key Takeaways

  • Urgent call to speed up delivery of a short-term lets register
  • Support for local tourism taxes where communities want them
  • Backing steps to end the practice of ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions

Airbnb has unveiled its Healthy Tourism Commitment for the sustainable recovery of the UK’s tourism sector ahead of a busy summer travel season and to support the work of the Government’s Tourism Recovery Plan. 

Airbnb has committed to:

  • Supporting the introduction of fair rules for short-term lets 
  • Spreading tourism and its benefits in partnership with communities
  • Tackling noise, nuisance and issues in the community

Supporting the introduction of fair rules for short-term lets

As innovations like Airbnb change the way people live, work and travel, rules need to be updated to keep pace with new habits and trends. Airbnb supports rules for short-term lets and believes all authorities should have the tools to know what is going on in their local communities and take action when needed.   

Airbnb has led calls for sensible rules in the UK for years: in 2019 we joined the Mayor of London in support of new rules for London and in June last year we announced our support for a UK wide registration scheme. 

As travel returns and ahead of a busy summer, Airbnb is today calling on the Government to accelerate the timetable for delivering on its commitment to consult on a Tourism Accommodation Register – a move that was originally announced last year.

Such a register will give local authorities better visibility of short-term letting activity in their area, enable them to identify and take action towards bad actors, and inform decisions around local planning by having a clear, evidence based understanding of the short-term lets activity in a local area.

Beyond specific legislation for short-term lets, Airbnb is also backing moves to strengthen protection for renters. Airbnb is built on the premise of allowing people to afford their homes and we are committed to investigating cases where a tenant has been unfairly evicted when brought to our attention by relevant authorities. However, we recognise that often the challenge is with lawful “Section 21” or so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions. That’s why we welcome the recent decision by the Government to end these evictions and ensure long-term housing is protected for communities.

Spreading tourism and its benefits in partnership with communities

Airbnb has long encouraged guests to explore lesser trodden paths to help spread the economic benefits of travel and mitigate against the challenges of overtourism. Last year, Airbnb promoted the Scottish Lowlands as a must-visit destination with the support of Visit Scotland and the South of Scotland Destination Alliance. 

This year, we commit to continuing to work with destination marketing organisations around the UK to promote travel in areas where it is needed and during times when it is wanted, such as when events and other moments cause peaks in demand as we did with COP26 last year in Glasgow.

There has also been recent discussion by communities in parts of the UK, including in Wales and Scotland, about whether a tourism tax is right for them. Where there is clear support for such a measure to be introduced in the community, Airbnb can share its experience in working with authorities to streamline the process here in the UK too.

Outside of the UK, travel can often be subject to tourist tax and Airbnb collaborates with authorities across the world to make the process simple for everyone by automating the collecting and remitting of tourist taxes from guests on behalf of Hosts. Airbnb has collected and remitted more than $4 billion in tourist taxes globally.

The needs of each community are unique and revenue raised from such taxes can help support locally significant initiatives, whether that’s for housing and infrastructure, reinvesting back into the local tourism economy and businesses, or environmental schemes such as litter picking and wildlife protection. 

Tackling noise, nuisance and disturbances in the community

Airbnb is committed to being a good partner to communities by strengthening Host and neighbourhood defences against unwanted behaviour and bad actors. To support this work, Airbnb introduced a party ban, removed or suspended more than 1,000 UK listings as part of a crackdown on party houses, introduced high-risk reservation technology and launched a Neighbour Support Line allowing neighbours with concerns to contact Airbnb,

Airbnb has also launched a dedicated Trust and Safety Alliance for the UK to work with a network of expert organisations (including Get Safe Online, Crimestoppers and the National Fire Chief’s Council) to provide information and guidance to Hosts and the Airbnb community throughout this year.

We are currently working with Get Safe Online to update guidance for Hosts and guests around staying safe online and working towards the government’s ambition of making the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

Amanda Cupples, General Manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said, “Our priority is to help make sure the recovery is a success and to ensure communities can benefit from the return of tourism in a healthy and sustainable way. Since last year, we have led calls on short-term lets rules being introduced and now, alongside communities in some parts of the UK, we are keen to see the Government turn talk into action.”