Madrid tightens restrictions on Airbnb to combat ‘over-tourism’

José Manuel Calvo, delegate of Sustainable Urban Development in Madrid, has announced proposals to reduce the number of Airbnb and homeshare listings available to help tackle ‘over-tourism’ in the city.

The plan aims to preserve residential houses in the central areas of the city, preventing them from becoming accommodations exclusively for tourists.

Currently, the proportion of homes for tourist use in the city of Madrid is 0.54%. However, the percentage for the central districts amounts to 6%, so the average tourist use for the rest of the city drops to 0.23%. This means that more tourists stay in accommodations in the central district than in the other 20 districts of Madrid combined.

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In March 2018 Airbnb issued a statement which said: “At Airbnb,we take local concerns seriously, especially in cities like Madrid, that is facing a demand for urban housing that outstrips the supply.

“Airbnb wants to be good partners to cities and regions. That’s why we’ve engaged with over 300 governments on clear home-sharing rules and taken proactive steps in cities to help ensure home sharing grows responsibly and sustainably.”

Justin Francis, CEO and founder of Responsible Travel told CNN Travel: “It’s good to see destinations finally listening to residents and taking more control over how the tourism industry develops, working to avoid over tourism Airbnb has been somewhat of a poisoned chalice for many tourism destinations around the world.

“At first, it seemed a hopeful tool for empowering local people, opening up the accommodation market, creating pockets of opportunity in communities and spreading the benefits far wider than just large hotel corporations.”

He added: “It built itself as a disruptive business but I don’t think we ever imagined it would be as disruptive for local people as it has turned out to be.”

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