The sharing economy is rapidly changing the way people work, play and travel. Online platforms like Airbnb and VRBO offer tourists and business travelers alike entirely new ways to experience Maryland counties, providing opportunities to experience the greatest they have to offer from entirely new vantage points.
This remodeling of tourism also offers county residents new avenues to earn income and provide services for profit – begging the need for local governments to reexamine whether their methods of tax collection remain as equitable as they were when hospitality depended upon the brick and mortar, multi-unit hotel or motel.
At the MACo Summer Conference session, The New Look Vacation: Opportunities & Responsibilities in the Sharing Economy, held on Friday, August 18, at 2:15 pm, participants heard a wide range of perspectives from Airbnb Policy Director Will Burns, Maryland Hotel and Lodging Association President and CEO Amy Rohrer, and Montgomery County Chief of Treasury Michael Coveyou on how to best balance innovative new opportunity with principles of tax equity. Attendees learned about viewpoints of the issue from traditional brick and mortar establishments, solutions implemented by Airbnb nationwide, and the perspective of the county tax collector on the impacts these changes have on county coffers and operations.
The Honorable Jason Buckel, Maryland House of Delegates moderated the panel.