Visitor accommodation

Visitor accommodation

Holiday-letting law reform recommended

The City has recommended law changes to allow short-term holiday services, such as Airbnb, without adversely effecting neighbouring properties and traditional visitor accommodation services.

NSW legislation has not kept up with the rapid global expansion of the ‘sharing economy’, the City says in our submission to the NSW parliamentary inquiry (PDF 327Kb) into short-term holiday letting.

Airbnb listings in metropolitan Sydney have almost doubled in the past year from 5,692 in September 2014 to 10,473 in October 2015  – within the City’s local area almost 3,000 properties are listed.

The desire of property owners to offer short-term rentals needs to be balanced against reasonable expectations of neighbourhood amenity and visitor safety.  

Under current planning controls tourist and visitor accommodation is not allowed in residential zones and residential and tourist accommodation in the same building must be on separate floors accessed by separate lifts.

We are recommending a new definition for short-term rentals and a consistent approach across NSW – premises could be classified as ‘exempt’ development where they meet certain requirements, such as limiting the number of days they can be let in a year and the number of people staying. If short-term letting does not meet the requirements it would not be permitted.

Our visitor accommodation action plan (see below) aims to ensure continued investment in traditional visitor accommodation across the local area, with 4,259 hotel rooms and 197 serviced apartments planned to add to the 31,868 accommodation beds now available.

Developing new visitor accommodation

To ensure local and international visitors to our city have the best range of hotels possible, the City has produced an action plan that will help provide the rooms in demand.

The visitor accommodation action plan will encourage new hotel developments, including a more diverse range of hotels to accommodate the growing number of Asian visitors.

Growth in hotel room numbers will help Sydney remain Australia’s premier destination, with increases very likely in the 10.5 million visitors the city already receives.

Visitors contributed over $5 billion to the economy in 2012 and for every dollar spent on tourism an extra 91 cents is spent in other parts of the economy. 

Under the plan, the City will also produce a visitor accommodation development guide to help developers with development applications.

The plan seeks to encourage different forms of visitor accommodation, especially near transport links and major tourism developments such as Darling Harbour. 

As tourism plays a critical part in Sydney’s economy, the City has worked with NSW Trade and Investment and Department of Planning and Industry, Tourism Accommodation Australia, the Property Council, the Tourism Transport Forum and Tourism Australia to draft the action plan. The plan has the support of key industry groups including Tourism Accommodation Australia, the Tourism and Transport Forum, the Property Council of Australia and AMP Capital.

Supporting tourism in Sydney

Supporting the development of new visitor accommodation is a focus within the City's tourism action plan, which sets out how we will work with partners to maintain and further develop the vibrant tourism sector in Sydney.

The tourism sector is key a priority for the City due to its job creation potential and economic growth contribution, as well as the increased knowledge and cultural awareness it creates with other countries.

Developing visitor accommodation is one of a number of opportunities the City has identified in order to grow tourism in Sydney and further reinforce Sydney's position as Australia's premier tourist destination.

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Visitor accommodation action plan PDF 2.5 MB Download

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Last updated: Tuesday, 3 September 2019