Open Letter to European Governments and Regulators

European Union building

Dear European governments and regulators, 

New data released today shows that travel on Airbnb had an estimated direct economic impact of more than €36 billion in EU Member States in 2018 alone. Made up of host earnings and reported guest spending, that’s almost €100 million per day. 

And with an estimated direct economic impact of €86 billion in our top 30 cities globally, more of that money is going to Europe than any other region. 

It’s why we agree with the EU Commission that collaborative economy platforms like Airbnb are an excellent opportunity for European consumers that can boost the competitiveness of Europe. 

Our platform is truly driving an economic revolution. But does that mean we should operate without regulation? Absolutely not. 

In fact, every day we are investing in working with governments around the world to proactively seek new regulations to help diversify tourism and protect housing, and to make it easier for more hosts to pay more tax. Already we’ve worked with more than 500 local, regional and national governments, and we intend to expand this work and collaborate with more governments on local solutions that work for everyone. 

We want to work with governments to embrace regulations that leverage the best of the collaborative economy, which is why we were disappointed to read comments from a small number of cities to the Commission in a letter last week. 

First, the letter overlooked many of the tourism challenges facing cities today. For example in Amsterdam, guests on Airbnb account for just 8% of overnight visitors to the city, and more than two thirds of Airbnb guests stay outside the city centre, helping to create a sustainable tourism model that benefits locals in more communities.

Meanwhile, hotels and cruise ships account for more than 90% of visitors to Amsterdam, and more than half of hotels are in the crowded city centre. Plans have also been approved to build an additional 8,000 hotel rooms and discussions are ongoing for a new cruise ship port, which together are estimated to bring an additional 2 million overnight guests to the city each year. 

Secondly, we feel the letter misrepresents the collaborative relationship we want to have – and already do – with many cities across Europe. 

In Amsterdam again, we have worked with the city since 2014 to help hosts share their homes, follow the rules and pay their fair share of tax. We are one of the only platforms to limit how often hosts can share their space – which are typically rented for 30 nights a year – and we have put forward bold proposals to increase tourist tax revenues for the city. 

We’ve also worked on similar solutions elsewhere in Europe. 

In Barcelona, for example, we work with City Hall to identify and remove bad actors from our platform, on which Deputy Mayor Janet Sanz said other platforms should follow our lead. In France, we work with the government to automatically restrict how often hosts can share their homes, which Housing Minister Denormandie described as “a concrete step benefitting French people”. 

We are proud of these collaborations and as we continue, we want to work with more governments in more places. 

Lastly, the letter misrepresents the case before the CJEU on which the Advocate General’s opinion is based. While we cannot comment on a live case, it addresses whether a 50-year-old real estate law should apply to an internet platform like Airbnb. 

It is absolutely not about whether governments of any shape or size across Europe can regulate home sharing activities; they can, they should, and they do. We embrace that and want to work with more governments. 

We also want to work with the Commission to ensure that the appropriate guidance and guardrails are in place for Member States to ensure that local rules are clear, fair and proportionate, whilst recognising our own obligations and responsibilities as an online platform. We agree with the Commission that the collaborative economy provides a great opportunity and that a more consistent and less fragmented regulatory framework will support local consumers and policymakers.

We hope to be at the forefront of these discussions with the Commission and Member States across Europe.

We have always viewed governments and regulatory authorities as our partners. We hope that we can continue working together on rules and regulations that work for everyone and that will help more people benefit from modern, healthy and sustainable tourism in the EU. 

Patrick Robinson
Director of Public Policy – Airbnb

The data is based on internal Airbnb data and on a survey administered by Airbnb in January 2019 that received over 237,000 responses from hosts and guests around the world about their experience using Airbnb in 2018. No payment or other incentive was provided in exchange for completing the survey.