New EU rules could unlock accommodation benefits for millions – POLITICO

As the EU continues to draft proposals for new rules to govern short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, a delegation of EU leaders recently traveled from Brussels to Airbnb’s offices in San Francisco to discuss how to make life easier for millions of European citizens. share their homes and follow the rules.

Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk made clear Airbnb’s support for the EU’s work to introduce new rules, highlighted the important role home sharing plays in the lives of families and communities in the region – and how this drives inclusive tourism. The group also discussed proposals put forward by Airbnb that would unlock accommodation benefits for Europeans across the bloc while giving governments the tools they need to crack down on speculators and over-tourism.

More than two in five hosts in the EU say accommodation helps them cope with the rising cost of living, and one in three say the extra income helps them make ends meet.

The visit comes at a crucial time. Millions of families across the EU are battling a brutal cost of living crisis as they continue to recover from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The combined impact of these tragic events represents one of the greatest economic threats to families in decades.

Against this backdrop, data from Airbnb reveals – for the first time – how additional income from accommodation is helping EU families weather the economic downturn. More than two in five hosts in the EU say accommodation helps them cope with the rising cost of living, and one in three say the extra income helps them make ends meet.

The EU is home to over 1.3 million hosts – more than any other region in the world – and 1 million share a single listing. The typical EU host earned just over €3,000 last year, which equates to two months extra pay for the median EU household.

The typical EU host earned just over €3,000 last year, which equates to two months extra pay for the median EU household.

While hosts keep the majority of travel revenue on Airbnb, the benefits extend much further. A 2021 study by Oxford Economics found that travel on Airbnb supports nearly 345,000 jobs in the EU and generates almost €19 billion in GDP contribution through customer spending. Airbnb has also collected and remitted over €315 million in tourist taxes from trips on the platform in the EU.

For customers in the EU – who are also more European than at any time in Airbnb’s history – Airbnb is helping them discover new homes and communities they would have otherwise missed, while extending the benefits of travel beyond hotel districts. In a recent survey, more than half of travelers said their Airbnb listing introduced them to an area they probably wouldn’t have visited and that they followed their host’s recommendation of a local business or restaurant. place to visit.

Despite the tremendous benefits that accommodation brings to families and communities across the EU at this time of great need, millions of EU citizens are currently unable to benefit from the economic opportunities offered by home sharing. . Local rules can be onerous and disproportionate – often because they are designed for big players in tourism – and create unequal opportunities for families across the EU to use their accommodation to boost their income.

A 2021 study by Oxford Economics found that travel on Airbnb supports nearly 345,000 jobs in the EU and generates almost €19 billion in GDP contribution through customer spending.

At the same time, we must pay close attention to how tourism can negatively impact residents and take strong and effective action when this is the case.

Our Neighbor Helpline is just one example of how Airbnb has invested in solutions to address these challenges. It is now available in 12 European countries, providing a direct line of communication to Airbnb to report concerns about listings or guest behavior. We also redirected or prevented almost 350,000 people from booking in Europe thanks to our party prevention measures.

More broadly, Airbnb sees the regulation as an opportunity — not a threat — and has long welcomed EU consultation on harmonized rules to apply equally to families across the bloc. That’s why we have put forward regulatory proposals that would unlock the benefits of accommodation for Europeans while cracking down on speculators and the problems associated with over-tourism.

At the heart of the proposal is a new single European register of hosts. For authorities, this would provide greater transparency via a single source of truth for accommodation data. For hosts, this would ensure that ordinary families have access to fair and proportionate rules and retain their right to provide services as a fundamental EU freedom, while ensuring that big business and speculators can be regulated more strictly.

A common European system that would replace local rules would be simpler and fairer for everyone, especially for hosts who are disproportionately affected by binding local rules. Airbnb pledges to support such an initiative by ensuring that only hosts with an EU registration number are allowed to post listings on the platform.

The EU already leads the world in innovative data protection rules and technology regulation. He now has the option to do the same for home sharing. As our co-founder made clear to the EU Delegation in San Francisco, Airbnb wants to partner with the EU to support new rules, adopt data-sharing agreements, and collectively build an inclusive future and sustainability for tourism in the EU that empowers local families and communities to keep the economy generated by tourism for themselves.

EU governments are already moving in this direction with the rules they are introducing. France, Greece and the Netherlands are recent examples of governments that have introduced host registration systems that protect home sharing while more strictly regulating professional activity. We now hope to work with the EU to ensure that similar, fair and inclusive rules are a success for everyone in the EU.

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