Letter to the Editor: The benefits of short-term rentals cannot be overstated

Julie Koster

In a recent letter to the editor, Mr. Scott Ehlers made direct accusations against short-term rentals claiming the industry is a bad fit for Summit County.

He stated, “The negative implications from these short-term rental landlords on the workforce in Summit County — and hence the tourist industry as a whole — cannot be overstated.”

We could play six degrees of short-term rentals and find that everyone benefits from short-term rentals.

First degree: jobs. Last summer, Summit Alliance of Vacation Rental Managers presented data to county officials outlining economic outputs generated by this industry. Notably, approximately 70% of the workforce in Summit County is funded in some part by tourism, more than half of which are jobs supported directly by short-term rentals.

Second degree: infrastructure. If you hike on trails, drive a vehicle, visit recreation centers, or attend local events, you are benefiting from infrastructure funded in some way by short-term rentals. Short-term rental guests pay lodging taxes, and taxes support infrastructure.

Third degree: mud season. Summit County used to get pretty quiet in the month of May. Now, we’re a 12-month destination thanks to the accomplishments of the Breckenridge Tourism Office, which is supported in part by lodging taxes. So, when you dine or shop locally, you will contribute to the short-term-rental-driven economy while supporting your neighbor’s paycheck. Without visitors staying in them, we wouldn’t need year-round jobs and services, but that creates a different kind of problem: your house isn’t going to pay for itself. 

Everything the light touches in Summit County is touched by short-term rentals, and it may not even take six degrees to find the connection. We live in a tourism driven community, and we all benefit from short-term rentals in some way. I struggle to see the truth behind “the negative implications cannot be overstated.”

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