Andrew Gillum: Florida cities should embrace Airbnb as a logistics solution – Florida Politics (blog)
For five days in late July, Philadelphia re-emerged as the center of the American political world as the host of the Democratic National Convention. Typically when a city is asked to suddenly expand its capacity by five percent to handle a massive influx of visitors – as was the case with the City of Brotherly Love – chaos ensues.
Yet during my stay at the convention – where I was privileged to speak and represent the Sunshine State – we heard none of the usual complaints about having to commute an hour-plus from the nearest available hotel. Philly managed to house nearly all 50,000 visitors within their corporate limits, ensuring those tourist dollars allocated for lodging, food and attractions would directly benefit local constituents and merchants. It was a resounding and unprecedented success, one that could not have been pulled off without the city’s embrace of the home sharing industry, which allowed Philadelphians with an extra room or even a couch to rent out space to visitors during the convention.
I’ve long recognized the opportunity presented by home sharing and other disruptive technologies to boost tourism and spur economic development for my constituents in Tallahassee. In July, I alongside our City Commission and business community worked to repeal our business license tax, removing the primary obstacle identified by Tallahasseeans who sought to make a few extra bucks by sharing their homes, typically through the Airbnb platform. We pursued this policy as part of an effort to support the entrepreneurial instincts of my community while enhancing Tallahassee’s burgeoning status as a welcoming hub for businesses and tourists alike.
According to Airbnb’s numbers, our mission is succeeding. We’ve welcomed over 7,000 people to Tallahassee in the past calendar year through Airbnb. Our 300 citizens who host through Airbnb are pocketing $2,300 a