By: Amanda Pedigo, Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, Americas, Expedia Group
As the summer vacation season begins, more tourists will be scouring “.com” websites to find the best lodging options for their family’s budgets. Some will opt for a traditional hotel experience and others will seek a home-like accommodation with room for the whole family. Both options, including the latter whole-home vacation rental, are critical to Florida’s thriving tourism economy.
Expedia Group, along with our family of travel brands like Expedia.com, HomeAway, VRBO, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, and others have been and continue to be a strong partner in Florida tourism. Expedia Group platforms have made it easier than ever for consumers to compare and book travel, so it’s no surprise that thousands of travelers from all over the world come to Florida via advertising on one of the Expedia travel platforms. In just the first quarter of 2018, Expedia will see gross bookings of 322 million room nights around the world, resulting in $92 billion in gross bookings.
Expedia Group has been a longtime partner with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and we take immense pride in our positive engagement with fellow Florida Chamber partners. Expedia has a home here in Florida and has supported economic growth related to tourism and advocated for less burdensome regulation on travel and tourism across the state. Additionally, Expedia has been a strong advocate of private property rights, supporting Florida homeowners who choose to rent out their homes on a short-term basis to accommodate the growing interest in visiting the Sunshine State.
Prior to 2011, vacation rentals had been targeted by local governments considering either prohibiting or heavily regulating them. In response, and considering the economic benefits of these rentals, the Florida Legislature passed policy which prohibited local governments from passing outright bans on short-term rentals. The legislation required local governments to regulate the disruptive behavior rather than the use of the property. In 2014, the law was amended to allow local governments to again regulate the use of private property as a short-term rental but not limit the frequency or duration of the activity. As a result, in recent years, there has been an onslaught of local government activity regulating short-term “vacation” rentals.
In the legislative back-and-forth, Expedia has consistently demonstrated its commitment to working with state and local officials to craft short-term rental policies that create reasonable regulations and an enforceable system. The Florida Chamber shares Expedia’s view that there are common sense regulations that ensure communities and local governments continue to benefit, and that a ban or severely limited regulations would harm Florida’s residents and our economy.
The Sunshine State has long relied on tourism as an economic driver. For example, in 2016, Florida welcomed 112.8 million visitors who spent $109 billion and supported a record 1.4 million Florida jobs. Homeowners are part of this equation and should be allowed to contribute to Florida’s record tourism revenues by offering their home as a vacation rental.
Expedia’s commitment to promoting Florida tourism will continue to protect the ability of a traveler to choose how they want to experience our state and to protect the ability for a Florida homeowner to exercise their private property rights and keep Florida open for business.
Did You Know Florida Had Another Year of Record Breaking Tourism?
According to tourism numbers, Florida welcomed 116.5 million visitors from other states and other countries in 2017. If you believe Florida’s tourism industry can continue to lead the way in the nation, sign the petition today.