Paris worries about Airbnb and IOC partnership
Short-term rental service undertakes lobbying efforts in Japan.
Airbnb Inc and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Monday a new partnership that will increase the availability of accommodations in host cities and help reduce the cost of organizing a sporting event..
The agreement is «economically beneficial, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable», said in a joint statement by the IOC and Airbnb.
The deal means a portion of Airbnb’s lodging will be made available to visitors and workers. New housing options can reduce the need to build new hotels. The IOC confirms to CNN Business that the athletes’ Olympic Village will not be replaced by Airbnb.
Olympic host cities must plan, pay for, and build large-scale infrastructure projects that cost billions of dollars – most of them with taxpayer money. Thousands of hotel rooms must be built to accommodate athletes and tourists. At the end of the event, cities complain about the infrastructure that is not being used. And promised economic benefits rarely come true.
IOC and Airbnb sign landmark agreement on accomodation
The deal kicks off next year’s Summer Games in Tokyo and spans five Summer and Winter Games through 2028 in some of the world’s top tourist cities, including Paris, Milan and Los Angeles. The Financial Times said the deal was worth $ 500 million.
Airbnb is also becoming a global partner, which means the brand will be featured alongside some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Visa, Coca-Cola and Alibaba. Publicity will give Airbnb a boost ahead of its upcoming IPO in 2020.
This step could also help improve Airbnb’s image..
Several cities around the world are fighting a short-term housing company for «over-tourism», that is when the number of tourists exceeds the number of local residents and makes their life uncomfortable.
For example, Barcelona in 2017 approved new rules that limited the construction of hotels in the city center and limited the rental of private homes. Other cities such as Amsterdam, London, Paris and Jersey City followed suit. Airbnb is resisting administrative pressure, imposing rental limits, and saying it is working with local governments on new rental rules. The company introduced a program called «One master, one house», to prevent individuals from listing and advertising multiple items at once on their platform.
Airbnb said on Tuesday that it is lobbying efforts to push local governments in Japan to ease restrictions on short-term rental homes during next year’s Tokyo Olympics..
Japan’s short-term rental market plummeted after Japan passed legislation requiring landlords to register with local government and imposed other restrictions that prompted many to withdraw from such services..
Airbnb Japan manager Yasuyuki Tanabe said the company will seek to liaise with local governments, seeking exemptions on rental restrictions during next year’s Games.
The company expects to enter into partnership agreements with some local governments in the Kanto area near Tokyo, but Tanabe did not name them..
The Japanese government exempts landlords from short-term rentals from national law requirements when housing demand is expected to rise due to large events. Local governments are empowered to regulate the process.
Airbnb used these exemptions during this year’s Rugby World Cup in Kamaishi and four other locations, where arrivals grew 135% over the previous year..
«There aren’t many events like the Olympics, ”Tanabe said. – We have many ways to participate in this event, but one of them is to become a host for short stay guests».
News of the IOC-Airbnb partnership has raised concerns in Paris, host city for the 2024 Olympics. According to local authorities, the company’s policy contributes to an increase in the cost of rent in the French capital.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has come into conflict with Airbnb in recent years, outlined her vision of the platform issue to IOC President Thomas Bach last week following a sponsorship news leak..
Hidalgo wrote to Bach to «warn him about the risks and consequences» deal with the International Olympic Committee, Paris City Hall told The Associated Press.
At the Airbnb sponsorship announcement Monday morning, Bach was asked about Airbnb’s claims, including pricing..
«It is quite normal that such a disruptive business should be regulated and needs regulation, ”Bach said. – Everything happens in Airbnb’s dialogue with cities and countries».
Paris filed a legal action against the platform this year, trying to fine the company € 12.5 million (14 million) for allowing owners to rent out their property without proper registration..
In her letter, Hidalgo expressed her «absolute determination to ensure the strengthening of regulations regarding rental platforms».
Jean-François Martins, deputy mayor for sports and tourism, told AP that Hidalgo plans to hold a referendum on Airbnb’s presence in Paris if she wins elections next year..
«She thinks Airbnb is having the worst impact on the housing market, he said. – Parisians will have a choice between several options, including the ability to ban it in certain areas».