Alison Mizzi

The Malta Business Bureau (MBB) President Alison Mizzi believes that the new rules on short-term accommodation proposed by the European Commission on 7th November will help to create more transparency in the sector and will ensure a fair level playing-field in the tourist accommodation sector.

Having risen in popularity in Malta and across the EU, alternative private short-term rentals brought significant benefits to hosts and tourists, however, the new model also raised several new challenges for other accommodation operators and local communities. One such example is the fact that short term rentals contributed to increased demand for real estate development with a consequential impact on housing prices and the environment.

In this regard, the MBB welcomed the proposal for a short-term accommodation rentals (STR) regulation given that this economic activity remains generally unregulated or without sufficient enforcement, to the detriment of legitimate businesses.

Speaking of these new regulations Ms Mizzi stated that “having a Europe-wide level-playing field through clear and simple rules for the registration and compliance of short-term rentals is essential and everybody stands to gain.”

“Tourists will continue benefiting from a wide range of accommodation choices, traditional accommodation providers can compete on a fair level playing-field, and public authorities will have a more robust legal backing in gaining access to data, which will contribute to a more sustainable tourism ecosystem,” she added.

The STR regulation aims to create a framework which enables public authorities to receive accurate data from online intermediary platforms on users listing short-term accommodation rentals, the number of rented nights, and of guests. This will enable them to use this information to draft and implement better and more effective policies.

The MBB will be following the EU negotiations in the coming months as well as analyse the proposed regulation in more detail in ensuring that it is aligned with the Maltese businesses’ interests.

MHRA also believes that these rules could benefit the local industry. The organisation’s President Tony Zahra outlined that “MHRA has been vocal over the years at the rampant disregard of these strict rules and regulations by non-licensed and non-compliant accommodation owners.”

Mr Zahra concluded that “it is the government’s job to ensure that all accommodation providers are compliant with the laws and regulations in force, and to take immediate action to ensure a level playing field for all providers of accommodation.” 

Featured Image:

Alison Mizzi / Photo credit: Alan Carville

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