Overtourism not coronavirus: AIRBNB worry in Europe

Photo: eTurboNews

At the same time, tourism leaders everywhere in the world have sleepless nights over coronavirus to stop tourism in their region, Prague, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia and Vienna are in a state of war with AIRBNB as the enemy causing over-tourism. These European cities hat signed a letter calling on the European Commission to update its laws as part of a battle to control tourism traffic to their destination.

Prague, for example, has been unsuccessful in regulating the holiday rental site and similar efforts have previously failed to gain the support of lawmakers.

Prague is widening its campaign to put the brakes on Airbnb and other holiday rental websites, which they say are locking locals out of the housing market and changing the face of neighborhoods.

European cities are joining other popular tourist destinations in the world including Hawaii, where legislature banned vacation-rentals to a big degree.

The Czech capital this week approved a plan that calls for legislative changes allowing local authorities to restrict short leases, improve tax collection and force AIRBNB platforms to share more details about its users, including the number of guests during a stay. The city is cooperating with the national government and will try to push the changes through parliament this year.

Similar to what is true in other regions like Hawaii Prague city is also battling a housing crisis as apartments are taken off the market by owners jumping into a short-term rental craze, mirroring a growing trend across Europe.

Airbnb disputed the claim that the system overloads the housing market and pushes out locals. Company spokeswoman Kirstin Macleod said a 2018 study by the Czech Center for Economic and Market Analysis concluded that Airbnb accommodation was equivalent to just 1.8 percent of Pragues rental market.

Another study in the same year by the Planning and Development Institute of Prague, however, concluded that as many as a fifths of all apartments in the capital’s Old Town district and 10 percent in the surrounding areas are listed on vacation rental sites.. Some 80 percent of listings are entire apartments, according to the study.

If amendments are passed in the Czech Republic, Airbnb-type platforms will have to provide municipalities with detailed information regarding units being used in the business, sharing basic host data and the number of guests.

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