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BTA proposes vacation rental changes

The Bermuda Tourism Authority has requested that the Bermuda Government make several changes to improve the vacation rental property market.

According to a statement, the BTA has presented the government with a discussion paper, which proposes a legislated definition of vacation rental property not based on the number of occupants, mandatory safety standards, a 2.5 per cent guest fee (equal to what is paid in hotels) and a voluntary registry of vacation properties signifying compliance with safety standards, offering additional benefits to the homeowner.

No taxation of homeowners is included in the proposals.

The full 23-page document, available online at the BTA website, was produced after six months of research into the market, which is estimated to bring in $20 million in annual revenues.

BTA chief operating officer Karla Lacey said: “Our working group listened to a variety of stakeholders, some of them with competing viewpoints, and in the end we think we have a list of recommendations that is focused on growing the vacation rental market segment going forward.

“This growth will provide revenue-earning opportunities to local families, while also providing safety standards to our visitors and a much needed avenue for marketing Bermuda to a new generation of travellers.”

Government regulators will decide whether to implement the recommendations, take a different course of action or to leave the industry unchanged.

In Bermuda there are approximately 273 vacation rental units with about 437 bedrooms, representing around 11 per cent of Bermuda’s licensed accommodation room count. Internationally, the vacation rental market has grown substantially in recent years.

• For the full BTA release on Bermuda Accommodations, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”.