When planning a short stay in most European capital cities, travellers can be confident they’ll find an Airbnb short-term let if they want one. They may associate the platform less readily with a tropical paradise – but this month a heated controversy is coming to a head in Hawaii, where lawmakers are considering regulation and sharply curtailing the number of short-term vacation rentals.

According to figures from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, short-term rental units increased by 5,716 units from 2013 to 2017, more than six times as many as there were new hotel rooms.

This has had a huge effect on the local housing market as investors snap up properties for illegal short-term rentals. Two bills due this week are looking to limit short-term lets, especially “transient vacation rentals”, where entire homes are rented out by absent owners. In some areas the Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates that about one in four houses are tourist rentals.

Both Airbnb and Expedia have issued written statements in opposition.

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