Hotel Associations From All Over The World Urge Governments To Reform Global Tourist Short Term Rentals
ReformBnB – April 29 – 30th; Barcelona hosts a meeting of the world’s leading hotel associations against illegal tourist accommodation
Hotel associations have developed a proposal of global guidelines to be taken over by the different administrations of all cities over the world to reform tourist accommodation
Barcelona - Barcelona has been for two days the venue of the ReformBnB, an international meeting where the world's leading hotel associations have worked in a common front to fight against the serious issue caused by the illegal tourist accommodation.
Barcelona Hotel Association has been the host of this meeting, in which have participated representatives from more than 30 hotel associations from all over the world, responsible for the City Councils of Barcelona, Paris and Dubrovnik in the field of tourism and spokesmen for the association of neighbors of Barceloneta (Barcelona), one of the neighborhoods that has long been denouncing the serious problems that generate for residents these illegal accommodations.
This meeting takes over from the summit promoted by the New York Hotel Association last November, together with the Barcelona Hotel Association, the main hotel associations of Paris (AHTOP and GNI), Buenos Aires (FEHGRA) and the Montreal Hotel Association.
At the opening ceremony, the president of the Barcelona Hotel Association, Jordi Clos, stated that "We are glad to bring together in Barcelona the hotel associations of the main cities of the world. It is very enriching to be able to share and to debate the experiences that we all experience every day in our respective cities".
Jordi Clos has highlighted that "We are facing a global problem and not a problem of individual cities, and therefore, it is a priority to join efforts to require the administrations to take measures and combat illegal tourist accommodation".
Proposal for a consensus for the administrations
The sessions of the different ReformBnB Barcelona working groups have culminated with the elaboration of a proposal of global guidelines to be assumed by the different administrations over the world.
This consensus document is structured around 7 guidelines: registration, taxation, limitations, safety and health, decision making by neighbors, liability and enforcement and control.
- The first proposal calls for a registration system that is essential for authorities to know which properties are rented, who leases them and for how long. Cities such as Barcelona, Paris, Buenos Aires and Toronto and countries such as Colombia, Croatia, Greece, Sweden and Germany already apply this registration system, but the measure is intended to be extended to other cities. This first point also contemplates that platforms should be enforced to add the registration number in all listings.
- The second measure focuses on taxation and claims that the same number of fees and taxes applied in hotels must be paid by the tourist accommodation industry. Compliance with tax regulations is a key factor for fair competition and would also make it more difficult for hosts to evade taxes.
- The consensual text also asks administrations to set thresholds to protect against negative social impacts. In this way, authorities would identify regular professional suppliers, which must comply with the same rules as hotels, hostels and other accommodations. It would allow for a healthy competition on the tourism market.
- Safety and health are other highlights of the document. Short term rentals accommodations must comply with the applicable sectorial rules, which must ensure the provision of an optimal and safe service covering consumer rights and decreasing the problems with the coexistence with its environment. This legislation is already applied in Madrid.
- These guidelines also give voice to the opinion of the neighbors in their building of the different tourist districts of the cities, who have to deal with the tourists. Neighbors should be able to choose who they want to live with and therefore, Short term rentals accommodations should not operate in their buildings without their consent.
- Another measure, which has long been applied in Barcelona and Paris, puts on the table that the legal responsibilities of platforms and hosts need to be clearly defined. In this sense, landlords, online platforms and authorities must assume their responsibilities towards the client.
- The final point calls on local authorities to regulate, to restrict or to cease practices that they consider illegal and to define penalties for those who break the rules and for platforms that do not respect the established regulations.
A big challenge for cities around the world
Tourist rental has increased over the past decade due to a poorly regulated environment. In this sense, the almost total absence of rules has led to the rapid growth of rental platforms, being Airbnb, in particular, the most developed platform within this regulatory chaos.
The meteoric growth of online marketing platforms, such as Airbnb, has had a very high social cost for citizens, damaging housing accessibility and, promoting the expulsion of neighbors from the most touristic neighborhoods of the cities and the loss of the essence of these.
Next summit Reformbnb
During the day, it was announced that Buenos Aires will host the next Reformbnb summit at the end of October 2019.
Director d'Innovació, Gremi d'Hotels de Barcelona