The Airbnb conundrum hits Spain…but is it too late?

Spain’s Airbnb problem.


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Spain is the newest destination to find itself grappling with the rapidly transforming tourist industry, with hoteliers and other factions in the Spanish travel industry calling for tighter regulations on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb.

What happened?

In a situation mirrored in virtually every tourist market across the world, Spain has seen a drastic rise in the number of short-term rental properties. Recent figures suggest that nearly 300 thousand rental properties are available, rapidly catching up to the 389+ thousand hotel rooms in the popular European country’s twenty largest cities.

As economic woes tighten wallets, more homeowners are inclined to offer their properties to travelers for profit, pricing out many locals and converting city centers into tourist hubs with as many as 6 in 10 homes occupied by visitors.

Hotels are struggling to compete with the competitive prices and the rapidly increasing availability of Airbnbs in their immediate vicinity.

What does the travel industry want?

Hotels are mainly calling for tighter regulation on available rooms. While a hotel needs approval and regular standards enforcement on every room available, anyone can switch their property into an Airbnb. They claim hosts should be registered as tourist accommodation providers and seek permission long before they welcome their first guests.

The suggested rules are similar to those just passed in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Airbnb hosts are now required to apply for an annual license.

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