Airbnb rentals under fire from residents of the Hungarian capital of Budapest
Hungary: Campaigners in the Hungarian capital Budapest attribute the rise in rents in the city to the number of vacation rentals listed for tourists.
As a result, they are campaigning for the government to impose restrictions on rentals in the city, commendable through platforms like Airbnb, with Budapest seeing a recent surge in tourists with the opening of the globally recognized market. Sziget Music Festival.
The festival welcomes around a thousand artists each year, and it is estimated that it has attracted close to 530,000 spectators this year, more than 50% of whom are believed to come from abroad.
Local residents increasingly disagree with what they perceive to be the city’s “party district”, where crowds congregate beyond the end of final performances at 11pm. Hungary’s tourism industry has experienced a boom in recent years, especially among young travelers.
Speaking to TRT World, local resident Attila Bajnok said, “We can’t sleep because of the noise. When we go to work in the morning, the neighborhood is dirty.
The Sziget Music Festival has added fuel to the fire for residents, following the Hungarian Tourism Agency’s launch of an international advertising campaign designed to attract tourism to Budapest last year. This follows a record increase in the number of tourists, with overnight stays exceeding 31 million in 2018.
Such figures would lead to tourism making up 16% of Hungary’s overall economy by 2030 if these projections are correct.
Another factor is the fact that Hungary has its own currency in the form of the forint. The government has been able to weaken its own forint to lower export prices and tourism in the country is therefore becoming more attractive to travelers.
Although the currency is valued weakly, the influx of tourists has swelled the country’s coffers with euros from European visitors, which are then fed back into Hungary’s major trading partners.
Now, residents of Budapest’s seventh district, at the heart of complaints for overtourism, have decided to organize militant groups calling on the government to impose tougher penalties for heckling and drunkenness in public spaces. Although this is already illegal in the capital, it is only weakly enforced and punitive measures are rare.
Other cities to tackle perceived “overtourism” are Brussels, Amsterdam and Barcelona, the latter having one of the highest proportions of short-term rentals listed through Airbnb in the world.
Bajnok also lamented the influence of rental platforms like Airbnb on the disruption in his neighborhood.
In 2017, the presence of Airbnb rentals in Budapest would have increased at a rate exceeding 14%, positioning the city only behind Paris and Barcelona in the global ranking of this category.