The popular renting website, Airbnb, is being blamed by ABTA’s Chief Executive Mark Tanzer, for ruining historic European cities. He suggests that the affordability of Airbnb and other worldwide rental companies, causes a rush of visitors to popular cities, eventually resulting in them struggling to deal with the high amounts of overcrowding.
The times recently reported that Tanzer explained: “You can see the strain not just on the tourist experience but on the actual fabric of the city and on the residents there.”
“Overcrowding in key destinations is becoming a pressing issue. Without controls, we know tourism can kill tourism.”
The sudden rise of rental websites, which allow private landlords to rent out their rooms or property to tourists, has caused visitor numbers to drop in hotels and hostels. Airbnb now run in 34,000 cities across 191 countries. In last year alone, Airbnb attracted 900,000 visitors in Barcelona.
The Guardian reported that the Chief Executive of YHA Australia, Julian Ledger, claimed that some Airbnb properties are running like illegal hostels.
San Francisco have released restriction laws for Airbnb landlords to abide by. One law restricts owners from renting out their property for more than 90 days. Iceland is also looking at following in the steps of San Francisco. However, if landlords in Iceland want to continue past the 90-day limit, then they will have to start paying business tax. It was ruled in April 2016 that any landlord renting an apartment through Airbnb would need permission to do so by the other residents within the apartment block.
With the country set to receive 1.6 million visitors this year, the reasoning for this tax is to protect the country's natural landscape and classic way of living. The majority of visitors tend to visit Iceland for its natural landscape and classic way of living, being attracted to its glaciers, hot springs and lava fields. However, it is also attracting tourists, as Iceland is the set of the hit drama, Game of Thrones, which has recently taken the world by storm. The results of the Airbnb surge have caused a dramatic inflation in the housing prices in Reykjavík, and has restricted the amount of housing available to Icelandic Nationals, as many landlords are now cashing in on the increased tourism levels.
Airbnb promotes that their business diffuses tourists across cities, rather than them all being clustered in city centre hotels and hostels. The company told MailOnline Travel: “It is disappointing - but not surprising - to see attacks on new forms of travel that put money in the pockets of local residents and support small businesses outside hotel districts.”
“Home sharing is an economic lifeline for countless families and we are proud to work with cities around the world to support them.”