Barcelona wants tourists to check if their Airbnb-style rentals are legal – Quartz

Barcelona City Council has a message for tourists wishing to visit and stay in a shared flat or vacation rental: first make sure they have an appropriate license.

A campaign on social networks and its support sponsored site by the Catalan government encourages visitors to check if the list of vacations they wish to rent is legally registered with the city. He also encourages residents to report apartments they believe are rented illegally. The online process for tourists can be done entirely in English. Of course, there is also a hashtag: #fairtourismBCN

In line with a wider trend in Spain, Barcelona has been at the forefront of issuing restrictions for Airbnb and similar sites for several years now. In 2011, the region of Catalonia created the license that all legal vacation rentals must now carry, known as the HUT license. Then, in 2014, it completely stopped issuing new licenses; at present there is 9,600 apartments in the city which are licensed properties. Housing advisor Janet Sanz recently tell the Guardian they don’t plan to issue new licenses anytime soon, effectively limiting the vacation rental market.

The government says it has closed as many 2,000 illegal ads with reinforced execution teams. They also made an agreement with Airbnb to remove illegal ads of its platform following a prolonged battle and by withdrawing an amount not yet paid € 600,000 fine. However, officials believe their job is not done, as many other sites also advertise vacation rentals illegally.

As a government fair tourism website States:

Unfortunately, for all of its available legal accommodation, Barcelona also has a range of illegal accommodation that not only harms the people who rent them – depriving them of their right to complain about any incidents and denying them the extra services they have by. elsewhere right – but also the city itself, as it creates speculation and illicit savings and its activities leave nothing positive for local neighbors, causing nuisance and complaints.

If you are visiting Barcelona, ​​we need your commitment and cooperation to prevent the proliferation of this illicit economy in our city and the irresponsible, economically unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly tourism it encourages.

As has been well documented, while the ‘live like a local’ travel ethic enabled by the internet age has served adventure-seeking travelers, it hasn’t always been so great for true locals. . The use of the fairtourism website is of course not compulsory, but it is clear that the municipal authorities entrust part of the responsibility for responsible tourism to tourists, not just to travel agencies like Airbnb or tour operators.

As for the seemingly intractable battle against over-tourism, appealing to travelers’ sense of ethics is a notable step, and travelers should be careful of other cities to emulate.

Quartz has contacted Airbnb and will update this message if it responds.

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