Southern Cross University is studying whether coastal communities are receptive of short stay accommodation.
Southern Cross University is studying whether coastal communities are receptive of short stay accommodation.

Bane or a blessing for the Coffs Coast?

FOR the traveller short-term accommodation can offer easy convenience and for the property owner a source of income, but is the Coffs Coast really benefiting from holiday and short-stay property letting.

As the Mid North and North coasts grapple with the growth of Airbnb, Stayz and the like, 12 councils and the region's peak tourism body have partnered with Southern Cross University to give residents a voice in a new survey.

It follows the positive response to the Byron Shire STHL Survey case study in 2018. This latest project expands the scope to encompass a survey for each of the shires between Tweed and Kyogle in the north to Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest in the south.

The project is in partnership with Destination North Coast.

"It's all about evidence-based decision-making," said project lead Dr Tania von der Heidt from Southern Cross University's School of Business and Tourism.

"Airbnb, the largest, fastest-growing short-term holiday letting (STHL) platform, particularly raises polarised opinions across the North Coast communities and is the subject of ongoing debate concerning affordable housing versus tourism development.

"Policymakers need to have comprehensive, reliable, and evidence-based information on their locations. Community members and traditional accommodation providers want to better understand the impacts of STHL in their residential streets, neighbourhood and local government areas. Calls are being made to regulate STHL across the region more effectively."

More than 800 residents completed the Byron Shire STHL survey, outlining the positive and negative impacts of STHL, specifically Airbnb, on their community.

"There is particular demand for comparable data sets across and between council areas to understand why different regions and even different towns within one shire might need different planning responses, or interventions, on STHL," Dr von der Heidt said.

According to the latest data from Destination North Coast, the NSW North Coast's multiple tourist hubs are valued at approximately $12.5 million per day.

Even though tourism generates 9.4 per cent of regional jobs and supports 7,000 business, the North Coast faces many tourism pressures, not least from the burgeoning peer-to-peer accommodation platforms.

This project comes as councils across NSW consider a short-term letting cap of 180 days for non-hosted STHL properties, including Airbnb.

Such a policy amendment is now possible under the whole-of-government framework for short-term rental accommodation in NSW. 

To take part go to: 


Clarence Valley 

Coffs Harbour


Mid Coast 


Port Macquarie-Hastings