Airbnb Turns to Brussels for Help as Anti-Tourist Backlash Intensifies in Europe

The trend in its European markets is not Airbnb’s friend.

Airbnb has a big problem on its hands in Europe, its most important market for listings. The region’s bustling tourist destinations are growing increasingly disaffected with tourist rental property platforms as the cons of unfettered tourism — a squeezed housing market, surging rents, overcrowding, overstretched public services and infrastructure, and the erosion of the town or city’s distinctive character — begin to heavily outweigh the pros.

Even one of the supposed main benefits of mass tourism — job creation — is riddled with caveats. As a spokesman for a new campaign group, the Network of Southern European Cities in response to Mass Tourism, points out, “the tourist sectors of the hospitality and catering trade [in Spain] have the worst working conditions: low salaries, fraud in the number of hours declared in the contracts — when there are any — and outsourcing.”

As summer approaches, the backlash is intensifying. On May 18th and 19th, two days of protest will be held across 14 Southern European cities, including Barcelona, Venice, Seville, Palma, Lisbon, Malta and Madrid, all under the unified banner of “Stop the exploitation of our cities.”

In Spain, the rise of “tourism-phobia” risks harming an industry that represents around 13% of the entire economy and has played a vital role in Spain’s economic recovery, accounting for over a quarter of the new jobs created since 2013… 

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