Cyprus Mail

Airbnb bill delayed until January

Lawmakers on Tuesday decided to wait until January to table to the plenum a bill regulating the operation of short-term Airbnb-style property rentals.

MPs decided to withdraw the bill and to re-table it later with amendments due to the fact that an upcoming government bill will bring in major changes to the umbrella legislation governing hotel and tourist accommodation.

The government bill purports to simplify licensing and classification procedures for hotels and other tourist accommodation.

It is expected to be voted on this week or the next.

Another government bill will rename the ministry of energy, commerce, industry and tourism, removing the word ‘tourism’ from it.

This is being done as a dedicated junior ministry for tourism has been created.

Back in July parliament approved a law establishing the junior ministry for tourism, as well as the position of an under-secretary for tourism, answerable directly to the president.

The junior ministry for tourism is to become operational on January 1, 2019, with the simultaneous scrapping of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, whose staff are to be transferred to the new entity.

On the bill relating to Airbnb rentals, the aim is to create a dedicated registry for short-term self-catering accommodation and then taxing that income, bringing cash into state coffers.

Each property thus registered is to be assigned a number, which will be used in online advertis-ing platforms so that punters may know whether the property in question is registered or not.

The bill covers villas, residences and apartments used for tourism purposes.

Earlier, the committee had heard there are an estimated 40,000 accommodations across the island being used for short-term rentals that are unlicensed and thus not subject to the legisla-tion governing tourist lodgings.

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