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Barcelona targets home rental websites to stop uncontrolled tourism

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Staff writer ▼ | August 28, 2015
Barcelona's mayor Ada Colau is picking a fight with home rental websites as she tries to crack down on uncontrolled tourism that she fears could drive out poor residents and spoil the Catalan capital's charm.
Ada Colau
Tourists   Mayor is targeting Airbnb and Booking.com
Colau is threatening to fine firms like Airbnb and Booking.com if they market apartments from tourists without a number showing that they are on the Catalan tourism register.

Colau also wants rental websites to hand over information on the property owners.

“Everybody must comply with the same game rules. An internet platform cannot become a means to thwart the regulations and to shelter illegal tourist apartments. In that case we do have to intervene very forcefully,” Colau told media in Barcelona's city hall.

Airbnb, which has around 18,600 listings in Barcelona, its third highest number in Europe, said property owners could add the tourism registry number to their listing and said its users must comply with local rules. An Airbnb spokesman, asked if it would hand over owners' information to city hall, said it would not do so voluntarily.

Booking.com, operated by Priceline Group Inc, said it had “stringent measures in place” to make sure all its properties around the world complied with local laws.

Tourism provides nearly 400,000 jobs in Catalonia, 13% of the total, and it makes up 12% of Barcelona's economic output.


 

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