Andrew Campbell, WTA Chair (Left), Adrian Greason-Walker, WTA Policy Advocate (right) met with Marie Lorimer, Head of Public Policy (Centre right) and Paula Ellis, Retreats Group (2nd left) to discuss the 'Sharing Economy' and its impact on the Tourism industry in Wales. Following this initial meeting a Tourism Cross Party Group was held with Assembly Members, Members of the Wales Tourism Alliance and other industry representatives including the Cardiff Marriott and Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Online platforms are facilitating new economic interactions, increasing market efficiency, lowering prices and providing more choice for suppliers and consumers. However, with such rapid growth comes a number of issues. Marie Lorimer after providing an in-depth review of the Airbnb platform, discussed the ways in which Airbnb is addressing concerns about the adequacy of fire, utilities and quality assurance by engaging more actively with their hosts and the use of self-regulation.
In the follow up Q&A session it was agreed that although these were advancements none of that should override the basic principle of a level playing field for all accommodation in terms of responsibilities and requirements for visitor safety, whether that comes via Sharing Economy platforms, booking agencies or tourism companies. It was concluded that more needs to be done to protect customer safety and maintain a level regulatory playing field across the tourism industry, whilst taking into account the needs of local communities and ensuring that all operators of tourism accommodation are paying the appropriate level of taxation.