As a key global node, Singapore has to keep pace with the times. Where short-term stays are concerned, that means coming to terms with the Airbnb phenomenon. Founded in 2008, Airbnb leverages technology to empower millions to monetise their spaces by becoming so-called "hospitality entrepreneurs". That pitch has led to the opening up of a vast marketplace: millions of places are now available to stay in more than 191 countries, ranging from apartments and villas to tree-houses and castles, to say nothing of customary B&Bs (bed and breakfast lodgings). On the market even longer, HomeAway offers extensive vacation rentals in 190 countries, including barns, cabins, farm houses and posh accommodation.
The tourism authorities must take account of these developments to cater to travellers who wish to taste authentic life in Singapore, whether in HDB estates or in premier districts. However, it would not do to take a laissez-faire approach when examining the regulation of short-term stays.