The Head of Public Policy for Airbnb, Chris Lehane, visited Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) and met with elected officials of City Hall and Catalan Government. In February, Airbnb presented a specific plan to address tourism concentration and lack of long-term housing. In February, Airbnb presented a specific plan for Barcelona to address tourism concentration in Ciutat Vella and long-term housing availability.
Lehane explained in Barcelona that “home sharing is part of the solution in this city and can help address many issues that it is facing. We firmly believe in dialogue with the institutions and we are really grateful that the conversation with officials is progressing”.
During his visit to Barcelona, Chris Lehane met with executives of Catalan companies, media outlets, representatives from civil society, and hosts. He also signed a strategic partnership with Barcelona Tech City to support innovation in travel and tourism.
Barcelona Tech City works with entrepreneurs, start-ups, investors, universities and other stakeholders to create and support new tech international businesses in Barcelona.
MWC impact in Barcelona
Over 40,000 guests have stayed in local homes booked on Airbnb during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Most of them have stayed out of the city centre, spreading tourism benefits beyond traditional tourists hotspots. As Chris Lehane described, up to 50% of Airbnb guest spending occurs in the neighbourhoods where they stay; and 1 in 3 guests say they either would not have come or would not have stayed as long in the city without Airbnb.
Guests have doubled in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, for example. L’Hospitalet is the hometown of the MWC venue and more than 1,000 guests stayed in the neighbourhood during the conference. Airbnb projects that over 26 million euros will have been injected into the local economy during MWC week, thanks to hosts income and guests spending in local businesses.
These figures show how the way we travel has changed. Guests that choose home sharing to visit a city know that every stay benefits a family, a neighbourhood and a wider community. And the MWC week is proof for that.