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Representatives from eight cities protested against the rules applicable to holiday letting platforms, advocating more transparent regulation. The municipalities of the cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Paris, Krakow, Vienna, Reykjavik and Amsterdam subscribed to the declaration sent to the EU Commission. City officials stated that online tourist letting platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com should be obliged to share data with regulators. Currently, these internet booking services permit the anonymity of listing owners of properties as well as of the holidaymakers who let them, exacerbating pressures that the recent invasion of mass tourism places on the infrastructure of these municipalities.
Lisbon was the fifth most popular destination for European holidaymakers in 2017, registering a 17% jump when compared to the year before. Porto came in ninth place, 12% above 2016. Registering a 24% increase, London was the first choice for European tourists, followed by Barcelona, Mallorca and Paris.
Following similar moves in London and Amsterdam, the holiday letting firm announced that hosts in four key Parisian neighbourhoods will only be able to rent out their entire homes for no more than 120 nights per year starting in 2018. The restrictions will bring Airbnb into line with current local regulations. Paris is the platform’s largest city based on listings.
Over the past 12 months, Airbnb has removed 1,036 Barcelona-based local lodging units from its website. The measure was mandated by the city of Barcelona which considered that the units were being commercialised illegally. According to figures from the municipality, 15% of illegal lets are placed on Airbnb by tenants and not by the property owner.
Over the past 12 months, the city of Barcelona has ordered the closure of 2,332 apartments operating illegally as local lodging establishments. Authorities also fined another 3,473 operators in amounts ranging from €3,000 to €60,000 as part of their “zero tolerance” policy.
In 2016, the 1.6 million inhabitants of Barcelona were “overwhelmed” by more than 32 million tourists who “overloaded the city”. The City Council has approved legislation to limit the influx of tourists after more than 25 years of intense promotion of the city as a tourist destination. The plan will only have an impact after 2019. The tourism industry opposes the new plan, which says that the legislation “demonizes tourists.”