The province of Nova Scotia has seen a significant increase in registered tourist accommodations, including short-term rentals, since last year.
The growing numbers raise questions about the impact on the outdoor hospitality industry and the experiences of tourists and campers visiting the region, according to a report by CBC News.
The Tourist Accommodations Registration Act mandates all accommodation operators to register with the province. Starting April 1, for the first time, the regulation extends to operators using their primary residence as short-term rentals, such as Airbnb listings, which were previously exempt.
As of Monday morning, a total of 2,988 accommodations had been registered for the 2023-24 season, marking a continuous upward trend since the act was implemented in 2020. The breakdown of registrations per year is as follows:
- 2020-21: 1,294 accommodations registered
- 2021-22: 1,672 accommodations registered
- 2022-23: 1,720 accommodations registered
- 2023-24: 2,988 accommodations registered
The reason behind the increase remains uncertain, whether it’s due to more accommodations being offered or higher compliance with registration rules.
The types of registered accommodations for the 2023-24 season demonstrate a diverse range, with traditional lodgings such as hotels and bed and breakfasts accounting for only 13% of the total. The remaining accommodations comprise:
- Rooms in a home or self-contained secondary suites like basement apartments or garage lofts: 20%
- Cottages, cabins, tiny homes, and unusual lodging (e.g., yurts, domes, camping trailers): 31%
- Entire apartments, condos, houses, and vacation homes: 36%
The Tourist Accommodations Registration Act also requires online platform operators, like Airbnb or VRBO, to maintain records of registration numbers for each listed accommodation. Operators who fail to register face fines of up to CA$1,000 per day, with a maximum of CA$7,500 annually.
During a recent subcommittee meeting at the legislature, Dartmouth North MLA Susan Leblanc inquired about monitoring and enforcing the registration requirement.
In response, Tourism Minister Pat Dunn emphasized the focus on “awareness and education.” He added that platform operators have been informed that listing accommodations without registration numbers is prohibited. Dunn expressed optimism about the platform operators’ cooperation.
Accommodation operators are required to pay an annual registration fee ranging from CA$50 to CA$150. The province anticipates collecting approximately CA$200,000 in fees each year.
This surge in registered accommodations presents opportunities and challenges for the outdoor hospitality industry in Nova Scotia, as well as tourists and campers planning trips in the region.
The diverse range of lodging options may lead to increased competition while offering visitors greater choice and flexibility when planning their stays.