How a spare bedroom could be making families rich

THE number of Airbnb listings in Ipswich has exploded in the past year as more residents look to secure extra income.

Statistics released to the Queensland Times by Airbnb showed the number of properties listed had grown 79 per cent year-on-year.

Airbnb Public Policy chief Brent Thomas said the business had become an "economic lifeline" for everyday Queenslanders.

"The average host in Ipswich earns a modest $3400 a year which we know helps ease the sky-high cost of living," he said.

Data provided by Airbnb showed there were more than 110 listings in Ipswich. Last year, Airbnb listings in the region hosted more than 2500 guest arrivals.

Mr Thomas said the company was able to provide hospitality to a growing number of Ipswich visitors quickly.

"Without the cost or delay of building a new hotel or attraction, Airbnb can help Ipswich attract and host more guests, growing the tourism pie," he said.

"Our community, with its unique and authentic offerings, acts as a magnet for people who otherwise would not have been able to travel.

"We know one in three guests who use Airbnb only travel because of Airbnb."

Last week Tourism Research Australia revealed 2.6 million visitors had come to Ipswich in the 12 months before September.

Mr Thomas said Airbnb contributed more to the state than a key infrastructure project.

"Already, our community injects more than $217 million into the Queensland economy and supports more than 2115 local jobs - more than the Cross River Rail Project," he said.

"We want to partner with the Queensland Government and Ipswich City Council to support fair rules for home sharing, encourage more people to share their homes and to turbocharge the local tourism industry."

Last month the QT revealed the quality of Airbnb options available for March's CMC Rocks festival.

After rooms and camp sites were snapped up within hours of the festival dates being announced, optimistic Airbnb hosts began offering budget accommodation.

"Feral" sheds, a mat on the floor, a powered carport and a tent in the backyard are available for travellers stuck without a place to stay.

It drew a warning by Ipswich City Council planning spokesman Councillor David Morrison for owners to understand various regulations that applied to house-sharing scenarios.

He recommended home owners seek advice for their locations and circumstances, considering the requirements of the Ipswich Planning Scheme. He also asked Airbnb hosts to consider the effects on their neighbours. For planning regulations, visit www.