The European Commission’s DG GROWTH has commissioned us to prepare an Impulse Paper examining the impact of regulatory approaches in the tourism accommodation sector in the cities of Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris. The objectives of the project are:
1. To compare and contrast the different regulatory measures that have been put in place in each of the four cities.
2. To assess the impacts of regulatory approaches adopted in each city on different groups of stakeholders and on the destination in general.
3. To analyse policy practices and make recommendations with respect to good practice.
The collaborative economy peer-to-peer (P2P) accommodation sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of the collaborative economy. PWC estimates that in Europe the sector has a total transaction value of €15,1 million in 2015. This sector has significant impacts for traditional tourism industry structures and relationships: it has led to a diversification of accommodation stock, increased competition, and has stimulated a range of ancillary services and business opportunities offered by small and micro-entrepreneurs. However, incumbent industry actors (such as hotels, apartment hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels and vacation rentals) are concerned about the uneven regulatory landscape and unfair competition. Municipal governments and host communities are also raising concerns over the impact of unregulated tourist accommodation within residential neighbourhoods and the conflicts that are emerging due to the changing commercial nature of traditional residential areas close to city centres. In many cities across Europe, there have also been considerable concerns raised over the conversion of residential, and particularly social housing, stock into commercial tourist accommodation.
This project compares and contrasts the regulatory approaches in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and Paris. It analyses the landscape of issues in each city, and assesses the impact of regulation on the sector.
Preliminary findings include:
1. Regulation has largely been targeted at the commercial or extractive P2P accommodation sector, and has sought to define and distinguish commercial accommodation operations (as opposed to non-commercial sharing) and manage the impacts they create.
2. There is a range of issues that are coalescing to create a perfect (policy) storm These issues include a sustained emphasis on tourism growth and promotion policies in each of the cities, housing availability and affordability issues, the role of land use planning in managing visitor conflicts, and demographic changes associated with population and capital mobility across Europe.
3. The main issues circulating in public debates focus on (i) the complexities of regulation; (ii) overlapping relationships with land use planning and housing policy; (iii) taxation issues; (iv) business innovation and disruption; (v) impacts on incumbent industry actors. The cities analysed each have different emphases on these issues.
4. Commons models of collaborative economy accommodation are much less developed and have potential to deliver on objectives related to the circular economy, sustainability and social innovation. Regulatory responses to P2P accommodation should ensure alternative emergent models to the dominant extractive/commercial model can develop.
PLEASE NOTE: The views and findings expressed above are those of the researchers and do not necessarily represent any official view of the European Commission.