Airbnb to collect vacation tax on properties in Bermuda for extra marketing

Bermuda: The Bermuda tourism minister has revealed Airbnb will collect a 4.5 per cent tax on its properties in return for extra marketing.

Jamahl Simmons said Airbnb would collect the vacation tax directly from guests when they book a break on the island and then forward the cash to the government.

The money will be used to help promote Bermuda’s tourism industry and will feature ‘destination marketing’ on Airbnb to target a larger audience of potential tourists.

Airbnb’s Experiences webpage will also highlight tourist services in Bermuda and allow property owners to promote themselves through the platform.

Kevin Dallas, chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said the partnership was an ‘exciting opportunity for our hosts and for our island’.

He added: “This is another opportunity where Bermuda’s entrepreneurs can do what we’ve always been good at — making our customers feel comfortable, special, and welcome.”

Airbnb spokesman Carlos Muñoz said the tax collection, which will start next month, would not affect property owners’ profits.

He added: “It is much simpler for the guests — no added paperwork and no filings or any additional costs.”

The Experiences page will also vet other tourism services like tours and restaurants before they are displayed on the website.

Mr Muñoz said: “Airbnb has come to realise that a person’s greatest asset is their time and through Airbnb Experiences we provide a channel through which anyone with a hobby, or a passion, or a special skill or an interest can monetise their time, share it with somebody that may be visiting, and improve the overall experience for that guest in Bermuda.”

Mr Simmons added: “The growth of vacation rentals provides an exciting opportunity to bring back the warmth, hospitality and friendliness that has lured tourists to our shores time and time again.”

He added that the government planned to monitor the sector for any housing problems that might be a result of properties being used for Airbnb rentals.

Mr Simmons said: “I think it’s important to note that we are aware of this and we do not want to displace Bermudians just simply because of an entrepreneur opportunity, but we also recognise that people have choices and want to enter the space.”