Dad seeks permits for home-sharing booking

Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre wants home-stay and self-styled accommodation owners especially those listed in home-sharing booking applications such as Airbnb, VRBO, tripping.com, Flipkey, Home Away, and others to acquire  business permitS before operating.

Alejandre said that establishments should pay local taxes because they fall within the amended tourism code of 2014.

According to  Alejandre, inns and lodges registered in online booking applications are a big help to the tourism industry because of the shortage of hotels in Davao, especially now that target for 2018 is 2.2 million tourist arrivals.

In a privilege speech during the Council’s regular session on Tuesday, Alejandre said that getting an accommodation would be easier for tourists since people are hooked to mobile phones and have the access internet.

“Home sharing applications and online platforms have been the merging trend nowadays, which allows individuals to rent out their homes to tourist,” he said.

He pointed out that the hotel and inn industry are claiming unfair competition as the latter pay taxes and are subjected to more regulations, while those listed in the sites are not.

“The reason why tourist prefers to stay in online rental homes as they come much cheaper,” he added.

Citing what he described as substandard facilities, poor customer service and safety and security risk, he batted for a regulatory legislation for online rental services so as not to put tourists in danger.

However, he said establishments have to pass the Department of Tourism’s standards and if left unregulated, this could be detrimental to the city’s hotel and inn industry.

The city’s Amended Tourism Code passed in 2015 provides the standardization of primary and secondary tourism industries in the city, in accordance with Republic Act No. 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009.

Under the said ordinance, facilities, services and attractions that are directly related or involved to tourism, such as the hotels, homestays, inns and accommodation establishments are regulated.

His proposed ordinance is considered under first reading and jointly referrer to the Committee on Tourism and Finance, Ways & Mean and Appropriations.

Airbnb establishments will also be subjected to occupancy tax and all owners will be invited to a committee hearing.