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Researchers to reveal impact of Airbnb on Canterbury tourism

Canterbury researchers are set to uncover the impact the Airbnb accommodation phenomenon has had on the region’s tourism industry.

The University of Canterbury (UC) and ChristchurchNZ are working together on the research project, which will explore the economic, social and environmental impact of Airbnb in Canterbury. It will also look at the financial performance of Airbnb compared to the formal accommodation sector and how Canterbury rates against other regions in New Zealand.

The research follows insights released by ChristchurchNZ late last year showing the total number of Airbnb accommodation units in the city almost doubled in the 12 months to September 2017, rising from 1158 to 2035.

ChristchurchNZ figures show there has been a rapid rise of Airbnb accommodation in the city over the last two years, but this appears to have stabilised at 21 percent of all available accommodation as per last April. The mean number of available Airbnb units in Christchurch/Banks Peninsula now stands at around 2,400.

University of Canterbury Associate Professor Girish Prayag and Associate Professor Lucie Ozanne, of the Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship department, UC College of Business & Law, said the research will allow the regional tourism industry to devise and implement a clear response strategy to peer-to-peer accommodation.

“The findings will be meaningful for policy makers at the regional and local council levels but also can serve as learning cases for other regions in New Zealand,” Associate Professor Prayag said.

ChristchurchNZ Senior Economist Peter Fieger said the research is expected to give further insights into the booming peer-to-peer accommodation sector.

“From a tourism industry perspective, there’s a clear need to better understand the phenomenon of peer-to-peer accommodation, and in particular Airbnb, as the landscape of the formal accommodation market changes in the South Island.”

UC researchers will interview Canterbury Airbnb hosts and other interested stakeholders, while ChristchurchNZ will analyse data for Canterbury and nine other regions around the country and map it with formal accommodation information.

The research is expected to be completed in December and will be available to anyone with an interest in the peer-to-peer accommodation sector.


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