Michael Trout - Jun 11, 2018
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For some time now, Airbnb has been considered one of the main reasons of mass tourism, or also called over-tourism. Many cities and countries are taking measures against the American company. However, according to its representatives, Airbnb is operating in support of sustainable travel as much as possible.

An example of measures to tackle over-tourism is for example the raise of tourist tax. Amsterdam has chosen this strategy and it is expected that the availability of short-term Airbnb rentals will fall as a result. The four-party coalition in the city aspires for the city to stay “liveable for all residents”. Representatives have put the blame of overcrowding on Airbnb among other aspects.

Madrid attempting to lure tourists out of center

Madrid has only recently joined the cities attempting to regulate the industry. According to the new regulations, landlords will not be permitted to rent out apartments to tourists for more than 90 days of the year. Restrictions will vary by city areas, with the most central ones being regulated the most.

As a result, rented apartments in the central zone will have to have designated entrances to streets. These would be independent to those used by permanent residents. With these measures, Madrid is looking to lure tourists to other city districts. According to official information, 23 times more tourists sleep in the center of the city compared to the rest put together.

On the other hand, in Valencia, authorities are choosing somewhat different measures. Officials have suggested regulating holiday rentals above the first floor. In Valencia’s old town, meanwhile, new rentals will be forbidden. Earlier this year, Mallorca introduced a ban on private holiday apartments.

Airbnb considers its business sustainable

However, Airbnb disagrees with these claims and measures. Recently the company released a report showing how the platform positions itself as a sustainable travel model to help combat mass tourism.

According to the company, among eight global destinations analyzed, two thirds of applied guest arrivals happen outside the traditional tourist areas with excessive visitor numbers, such as Barcelona, Venice, Bangkok etc. This encourages the geographical diversity of localities as well as maintains a good distribution of tourists.

The data show that only 7% of its customers’ arrivals are in the eight cities at risk of over-tourism. The number equals 0.37 guests per local resident on Airbnb.

Total arrivals of tourists by local residents outnumber Airbnb’s arrivals by 73.8 to 2.2 in Venice, 51.3 to 5.2 in Queenstown and 10.2 to 0.5 in Mallorca.

“Airbnb believes in the idea that sharing homes and accommodation provides authentic guest experiences while benefiting people, places and local communities. We firmly believe that our community is part of the solution to the challenges of mass tourism. It can generate sustainable growth that benefits everyone,” said Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk.

The report also notes that the revenue generated is almost completely reversed to the hosts. They can keep up to 97% of the rate charged for sharing accommodations. As a result, hosts then spend and reinvest their earnings in a number of ways, including household expenses, rent or mortgage payments, cleaning, home improvement, health and education.

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