Airbnb seeks Barcelona truce
Barcelona, Spain – 7 February 2017 –
Airbnb wants a truce with Barcelona, according to a Bloomberg report.
The home-sharing platform last year set limits on the number of nights that hosts can rent out their homes in London and Amsterdam as it responds to unease in European cities over the boom in informal accommodation services for tourists. The company is due to publish guidelines specific to Barcelona as it seeks to agree on a framework for its service with Spain’s second city, a spokesman for Airbnb said.
At stake for Airbnb is the future of its listings business in Barcelona, a city with 1.7 million inhabitants that lured more than 8 million foreign tourists in 2016 to visit sights such as the Sagrada Familia church and the Camp Nou soccer stadium. For the city itself, its disputes with Airbnb and other rental platforms are part of a wider challenge to balance the economic benefits of mass tourism with preserving its character and quality of life.
“We don’t want Barcelona turning into a theme park where neighbours are priced out of their homes and local businesses come under pressure,” Janet Sanz, a deputy mayor in charge of urban planning issues at Barcelona council, said. “We want to make tourism compatible with the way of life of the people of Barcelona.”
Airbnb’s business in the city has almost doubled in two years, rising to 20,000 listings from 11,000 in 2014, Bloomberg reported. Barcelona is now the fourth-biggest city for Airbnb rentals in Europe behind Paris, London and Rome and the ninth-biggest in the world. As many as 900,000 people used Airbnb to arrange accommodation in Barcelona in 2015, according to the company.
Airbnb has argued its business has a positive influence and has repeatedly said it wants to talk with regulators and well-established rivals. “Airbnb is part of the solution in Barcelona,” said Arnaldo Munoz, general manager of marketing services for Airbnb in Spain and Portugal. “We want to be good partners, and work together on clear and simple home-sharing rules.”