Airbnb locks door on City Tourism Office

ONE OF THE home-sharing applications targeted by a city councilor for regulation and taxation has blocked the city government on its site.

Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre revealed that Airbnb has blocked any communication from the City Tourism and Operations Office (CTOO), which tried to contact them for coordination with the proposal.

Alejandre, proponent of an ordinance regulating home-sharing applications in the city, revealed during the special session on Friday that they are now having difficulty in listing all the establishments and their hosts who are engaged in the operation of any home-sharing applications.

According to Alejandre, there are 400 hosts listed in Airbnb alone.

But despite the apparent hostility of AirBnB, Alejandre is adamant to push the measure.

Once approved, the proposal will call for all establishments and individuals engaged in the home-sharing application to pay the proper taxes to the government.

Alejandre said that if the proposed ordinance will be passed, the CTOO will conduct a massive information drive on the tourism code and requirements for the hosts that accept renters through the home-sharing applications.

On Friday’s session, Alejandre moved to defer the item to the next session to give a clear explanation on how to implement the procedure on the proposed ordinance.

Aside from Airbnb, other home-sharing applications are VRBO, Tripping.com, Flipkey, and Homestay.

Alejandre’s proposal aims to ensure that homes hosting visitors for a fee will follow the minimum standards set by the Amended Tourism Code on accommodation establishments, as well as all the regulations on business establishments in the city.

Based on the copy of the ordinance, houses or other similar places listed in home-sharing applications are categorized by the tourism code as “self-styled accommodation establishments.”

Such establishments are required to submit occupancy reports and also secure a certificate of registration and a mayor’s permit before they can be allowed to operate. The owners will pay the appropriate taxes to the city government under the Revenue Code and the Amended Tourism Code.

Once approved, the ordinance will either fine violators P5,000 or order them imprisoned for not less than six months or both, upon the discretion of the court.

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