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Journey platforms need to transfer away from vacationer areas in seek for sustainability – EURACTIV.com

Because the Fee and native authorities search to handle over-tourism in populous European cities, short-term rental tech platforms are encouraging stays in additional distant and rural areas.

The expansion of journey platforms like Reserving.com, Airbnb and Expedia has been a supply of a lot debate.

On the one hand, on-line platforms have been seen as resulting in important financial benefits in lowering transaction prices, permitting for extra environment friendly useful resource allocation, and offering dependable info and real-time costs aligned with market situations.

On the opposite, the increase of short-term leases pushed by these platforms has accelerated gentrification in key city areas. Proof additionally exhibits that rising the share of lettings like Airbnbs in an space drives up long-term rents.

“You need to discover a stability for town. You need a metropolis the place you’ve the Airbnbs. However you additionally need to have the folks that stay within the metropolis. That is one thing socially essential,” Carlos Moedas, mayor of Lisbon, stated on the Internet Summit final month.

Tourism sustainability

Brief-term leases are sometimes blamed for the ‘touristification’ of the facilities of cities equivalent to Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice, with critical implications for the native communities and the atmosphere, resulting in native authorities regulating tourism entries.

Sharing the stage with Moedas was Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder and Chief Technique Workplace at Airbnb, who acknowledged that an excessive amount of tourism in a too small place might be overwhelming.

“And but, how can we disperse that?” he requested.

In response, Airbnb has redesigned its journey search, shifting from a configuration through which it asks individuals before everything the place it needs to go, to 1 the place the search pertains to classes based mostly on a specific expertise.

In 2021, the corporate launched a ‘versatile’ search, with the view of shifting the vacationer flows away from the same old ‘hotspots’, to forestall them from overheating. In accordance with an Airbnb report, in 2019, the highest 10 most visited cities on Airbnb within the EU accounted for 20% of all journeys to Europe, a determine that dropped to 14% in 2022.

Equally, Airbnb states {that a} pattern that began through the pandemic – specifically stays in rural areas – is more and more in style, rising by 55% within the final three years. The report discovered that the provision is adjusting to this new demand, with a rising variety of Airbnbs in ‘nationwide parks’, ‘Farm Stays’, or comparable.

For Blecharczyk, these figures are “a reminder of how highly effective platforms are to form shopper behaviour.”

business traits

The European Journey Fee (ETC), an EU-funded observatory, discovered that whereas Europe’s hottest vacation spot nations have already bounced again and exceeded pre-pandemic ranges, “this demand remains to be leaning in the direction of non-urban short-term leases, which have gained a market share of roughly 10% over the course of the pandemic.”

The examine signifies that trip rental reservations for city areas dropped from 66% in January 2019 to 52% in September 2022, whereas reservations for rural areas have gone from 23% to 31% in the identical time interval.

“What we discovered is an rising consensus amongst vacationers on eager to keep away from busy and over-visited locations,” wrote Reserving’s chief lobbyist, Peter Lochbihler in an op-ed, stressing that over 1 / 4 of its customers selected to journey to a much less in style vacation spot within the final 12 months.

A report sponsored by Reserving.com final 12 months, discovered that on-line platforms permit vacationers to entry extra rural areas in a method that motels merely can not and are finest positioned to reply to this rising demand.

In 2021, the Expedia Group printed information indicating that probably the most searched areas in France post-COVID-19 are extremely rural areas within the south of the nation, with two-thirds of French households on the lookout for non-urban vacation locations.

managing change

Cities are additionally taking part in their elements in supporting a shift of short-term leases away from metropolis centres.

As an example, Barcelona put collectively a Particular Vacationer Lodging Plan (PEUAT) to strictly “management the organising of vacationer lodging within the metropolis and guaranteeing residents’ fundamental rights”, in keeping with metropolis companies.

“Individuals need to journey once more, uncover new locations and cultural heritage, however the pandemic has modified fashions of tourism in the direction of locations which are nearer and fewer massified,” stated Alfonso Rueda Valenzuela, President of the Galicia area at a convention on sustainable tourism in June .

In 2021, the European Parliament additionally adopted an own-initiative report for an EU technique for sustainable tourism, which “highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shift within the nature of vacationers’ calls for in the direction of secure, clear and extra sustainable tourism .”

The parliamentary decision invited the European Fee to operationalise the European Tourism Indicators System, a device to supply governments with real-time information on tourism locations to watch tourism’s financial, social and environmental affect.

The system additionally seeks to convey authorized certainty by way of the shareability of short-term rental information from the platform to empower native authorities to control the dangerous impacts of over-tourism.

“To behave correctly, short-term private and non-private entities want quantitative and qualitative metric information”, MEP Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar advised EURACTIV.

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald/Alice Taylor]

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