In its public relations quest to get Vancouverites onboard, Airbnb is out with a new study touting the benefits of the short-term rental site on the local economy.
The new report says that Airbnb guests and hosts generated $402 million in local economic activity in Vancouver in the past year.
University of Victoria professor Dr. Brock Smith looked at guest travel from September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016 when more than 267,000 Airbnb guests traveled to Vancouver.
He found that they directly spent $180 million at local businesses during their stay, which he calls a “meaningful contributor” to local economic activity.
The City of Vancouver is in the process of regulating sites like Airbnb, proposing hosts must obtain a business license for their principal residence only.
As Vancouver’s rental vacancy rate sits dangerously low (less than 1%), Airbnb has come under fire for soaking up potential rentals.
The short term rental site released a different report back in July, but a UBC student who had completed a research project on the site said at the time he didn’t believe the numbers they were boasting in terms of typical income and the number of properties that weren’t being kept empty.
City Councillor Geoff Meggs has been continuously vocal on how Airbnb is impacting the city, and spoke out about crafting a bylaw when numbers came in over the summer showing that 5,000 units had been listed in the last year.
“It’s been doubling every year since 2013. It’s incredibly easy to register as a host, and Airbnb is very, very aggressive in encouraging its hosts to rent and rent and rent again. We’ve known for some time that this market for Airbnb alone is one of the 10 most important in North America.”