According to the group last year homesharing put nearly £64m in the “pockets of families” in the South West and boosted the local economy by almost £359m a day, and said Airbnb is only “helping to grow and diversify tourism”.
The head of the Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA) recently called for city leaders to investigate short-term lets on platforms like Airbnb “as a matter of urgency” and has called for ‘exclusion zones’.
While other major cities across the world have implemented strict rules on booking sites such as Airbnb, Imran Ali, chairman of the BHA, said Bristol has been to slow to address regulation and policing.
In a statement made by Airbnb the secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organisation agreed with the group, and said: “The reality is that [Airbnb] is not taking away from your clientele, they are adding to your clientele. This is one of the advantages of technology. Anyone who looks at this activity as taking away from others, they are mistaken.
“It is bringing in new waves of travellers that have not been seen before. You need to come to terms with it, you can’t just fight it.”
A spokesperson for Airbnb added: “There’s a big difference between occasionally sharing your spare room and running a chain hotel, and it is utterly untrue to say hosts using Airbnb aren’t subject to rules and regulations. Rules and regulations are proportionate to activity levels – not whether the accommodation is listed on Airbnb or not.”