Airbnb bookings in Edinburgh jump 70% to more than a million

The proportion of visitors to Edinburgh using Airbnb has increased to 70% this year, as the online platform accounted for more than 1.1 million overnight stays.

According to the latest data from Colliers International the commercial property firm found that bookings on Airbnb for properties in the capital jumped by 20% in 2017 compared with the year before, while the website’s share of this huge visitor accommodation market grew from 13% to 20%.

The study, carried out in partnership with Hotelschool The Hague, comes at a time when tourist destinations around the world have been calling for Airbnb to be regulated, capped or even banned. In Edinburgh, the city council recently announced that it would lobby the Scottish government for a ‘licensing regime’ to potentially cap the number of Airbnb properties.

Alistair Letham, a director for Colliers International in Edinburgh, said: “There were concerns within the hospitality industry that while the Airbnb website is an undoubted success story, it has, in part, been as a result of an unlevel playing field.

“Its accommodation platform is unregulated, unlike other parts of the market, such as hotels and guest houses – and demands for licensing and regulation have been called for by politicians. The question for local authorities and regulators is the scope and effectiveness of a future regulatory framework.”

He added: “However, you can’t blame property owners for taking the opportunity that has been provided. Given the shortage of affordable accommodation in Edinburgh, during the summer, you wouldn’t want to stifle this trade either.”

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