AIRBNB: Our $2m growth industry
VISITORS are looking more towards Airbnb for a place to stay in the Clarence Valley, with the lower river capturing the lion's share of the market.
According to exclusive figures for The Daily Examiner, the lower river has 330 active Airbnb listings, providing an average income of $9100 for the year 2018. Most are located in Yamba, which shows more than 200 listings in the township on an average search.
This provides a total income from Airbnb of $2million for the lower Clarence, from 12,100 visitors - a 66per cent year-on-year growth for typical host earnings, and there was a 62per cent increase in active listings for the year.
It is not the only growth area for the Clarence Valley. For areas in the upper Clarence not including Grafton but including South Grafton and areas such as Wooli, Diggers Camp and Minnie Water, there was a 163per cent growth in host earnings, netting them an average of $6800 per year.
In Grafton there are 30 active listings with a typical income of $5790 per year for $137,000 in total revenue from 1300 guest arrivals.
While the influx of visitors may be seen as another injection into our economy, Yamba Chamber of Commerce president Gina Lopez said more information was needed to understand its true impact.
"We don't really understand what effect this will have on the economy, incomes, our natural assets and residents in the long run. It would be great to see some more research into the subject,” she said.
"We do have to be careful, the tourism dollar is only one aspect of building a thriving and resilient local economy ... and it's important to have that robust local economy outside the tourism industry and to consider the impacts.”
Clarence Valley Council director of environment, planning and community Des Schroder said while an increase in visitor numbers was always welcome, it was important to have a regulatory framework for the short-term rental market and the council had made recommendations to upcoming State Government legislation.
"A lot of the Airbnb houses in Yamba are in the tourism zones, but for many that are in the residential area, short-term rental is theoretically banned.”
Mr Schroder said the legislation was important to define what short-term rental was so it could be policed.
"This is the government catching up - it's an issue right across the world.”