Airbnb will meet tomorrow in Madrid with the Minister of Tourism and officials from the 17 regions in Spain. We are grateful for the government’s invitation to join the working table on short-term rentals.
Collaboration with administrations has always been one of Airbnb’s priorities and we can prove our long experience in this field. Airbnb has worked with more than 500 governments around the world and Spain being one of the world’s top tourist destinations makes this collaboration even more necessary.
A month ago, we informed the Secretary of State that our goals are shared: attracting quality tourism that benefits all citizens and territories.
Therefore, we want to make the most out of this first meeting of the working group by showing what our commitments are:
1) Legitimise home sharing
In Spain, there is a great deal of confusion regarding the classification of a dwelling as a short-term rental, and this leads to not distinguishing between a primary or secondary residence, and those used exclusively for tourist and professional use. Airbnb wants to work with the government on a regulation that legitimises the possibility of sharing one’s home, that does not takes housing stock from the long-term rental market and respects the essence of the collaborative economy. This requires a legislative framework that clearly distinguishes between private individuals who rent their primary residence sporadically and temporarily, and a professional operator.
2) Support the government’s proposal of a single central register, working together on a functioning system
We believe that a simple and clear system facilitates compliance and allows cities or regions to get the information they need to enforce the rules effectively, rather than hardening them and punishing thousands of responsible hosts. A single, clear system will discourage bad actors from being present on the platforms.
In February, the Airbnb platform implemented a system to make it easier for hosts to register and comply with the Andalusian tourism regulations. We were working with the regional government on a solution that could work. As a result, Andalusia has become the first region in Spain to implement this system, which has been successfully used in Portugal and other cities around the world. Since then, hosts from all over Andalusia have been able to register, obtain a licence number from the regional government and show it clearly in their listing. This month, the Andalusian Association of Vacation Rentals (AVVA) announced that more and more people are registering and complying with the law.
3) Collect the tourist tax in Spain
Since July 1st, the Airbnb platform has started to automatically collect the tourist tax in some 23,000 French cities. France thus joined the more than 400 governments or municipalities with which Airbnb is already collaborating for this tax collection. None of them are in Spain.
On the other hand, Airbnb is the only platform that collects the tourist tax on behalf of its users. Thanks to agreements with governments around the world, Airbnb has collected more than $ 700 million in tourist taxes (€ 580 million).
Where it is implemented, the collection of the tourist tax on behalf of the hosts serves not only to simplify the bureaucratic procedures that hosts who share their home would have to face, but also makes it easier for governments in some cities to obtain additional income. Many of these cities are sometimes outside the traditional tourist circuit and can, thanks to these revenues, carry out public policies that foster sustainable tourism.
4) An industry-wide approach
While Airbnb has always been the industry leader in responsible home sharing practices, it is important that all stakeholders make sure that the same rules apply to everyone, no matter what platform they use.
We want to thank the government for the initiative shown with this roundtable and we look forward to continuing the conversation on practical and proportionate measures in the coming months. We are convinced that when companies, communities and governments work together, the result is effective and positive for everyone.