New Tourism Decree is a Step Backward in Catalonia

In April, the Government of Catalonia started a new conversation about home sharing. They launched a year long process, led by a new commission, to develop clear sharing economy rules. We know that home sharing is part of the solution in Catalonia and were delighted to see this step forward.

This week, the Government of Catalonia published a new draft tourism decree. While it acknowledges home sharing and new forms of accommodation, it’s a step backward that will harm middle class families who share their homes. Here’s why:

    1. It ignores regulations that middle class families want. The decree contradicts the government’s ongoing work to develop new sharing economy rules and embrace innovation, which was widely welcomed in Catalonia.
    2. It fails to distinguish between professional and non-professional operators.   Middle class families who occasionally share their homes will be treated as commercial operators and subject to archaic rules written for a different industry, including a complex registration system that favours commercial operators and hurts middle class families and the solutions they bring.
    3. It ignores expert guidance on sharing economy regulations. The decree pays no attention to calls from the European Commission to better support the sharing economy, competition authority reports calling for new regulations that boost economic opportunities for regular people, and the government’s own pledge to help middle class families benefit from the sharing economy.

Home sharing is part of the solution in Barcelona. It puts money in the pockets of locals and helps them stay in their homes. The vast majority of Airbnb hosts are regular Barcelonians who live in every corner of the city. They help spread guests and benefits beyond tourist hotspots to more families, communities and business – including many that haven’t benefitted from tourism before.

Last year, the Airbnb community had a total economic impact of more than €740 million. Almost 900,000 guests used Airbnb to visit Barcelona last year and hosts typically earned an additional €5,000, keeping 97 cents of every euro they charge to rent their space.

Airbnb is growing because our platform reflects changes in the way people live, work and travel in the 21st Century. We are encouraged by stories from our community about the solutions home sharing brings and encourage the government to continue its work to support middle class families who share their homes to pay the bills.

The decision to publish this draft tourism decree now is confusing for everyone, but we are more committed than ever to make home sharing part of the solution in Catalonia and work with everyone to harness the best of the home sharing movement.