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Byron Shire
May 18, 2024

Tourist value

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Neil Matterson, Byron Bay

Much has been written about tourists. Their supposed value, their supposed burden on the local community along with the supposed need for them into the future. The one that bothers me the most is their burden, on the local community.

Their increasing numbers encourage more and more people to transition their properties to AirBnB or similar.

While I have less of a problem with the ‘local’ who rents out a room for an overnight visitor I have a huge problem with whole houses becoming de facto motels. I have an even bigger problem when the owners, while running a business, are not subject to commercial rates for running that business.

Why not? Why can’t the council collect a fair and reasonable return on what is, for all intents, a business?

This would have at least two outcomes. Some homes would be taken off the tourist accommodation list and hopefully returned to the permanent rental market, or at least the council could collect extra revenue to return to the local community in the form of upgraded facilities.

Tourists don’t need to be banned, but they do need to pay their way in a format that all the community benefits from and not just the selected businesses where they have a coffee, or buy a dress.

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