Airbnb claims “disproportionate” vacation rental regulations harm Canary Island families

Airbnb has expressed concerns that strict local regulations, particularly those pertaining to holiday rentals in the Canary Islands, are adversely affecting local families and failing to adequately address the challenges posed by mass tourism.

Airbnb issued a warning this week, expressing concern that stringent local regulations, specifically referencing the Canary Islands’ holiday rental law, adversely affect island families and fail to effectively tackle the “challenge” of mass tourism. Sara Rodriguez, the Director of Public Policy and Campaigns, stated her readiness to collaborate with both Canarian and Spanish authorities to develop balanced regulations that prioritize local residents, enable them to benefit from tourism, and prevent policies that disproportionately favor hotels.

The company acknowledges the Canary Islands as one of Europe’s most popular destinations, noting that tourism has brought significant benefits but also challenges, particularly due to the concentration of tourists in specific areas. According to Eurostat data cited by Airbnb, in 2022, hotel bookings made up 82% of all tourist stays on the islands, while Airbnb’s share was less than 4%.

Airbnb claims "disproportionate" vacation rental regulations harm Canary Island families

The platform also highlighted that the majority of local hosts who list an entire home, over 70%, offer just one property, and for 70% of them, hosting is not their main job. More than half of the hosts report that the income from Airbnb helps them maintain their homes, with the ‘typical’ host earning an average of €5,100 annually—equivalent to about two months of the average salary in Spain.

Moreover, Airbnb accommodations in the Canary Islands are reportedly more dispersed across the region compared to hotels, which are often clustered in specific locales. In 2023, nearly 90% of all entire accommodations listed on Airbnb were situated outside the three primary urban areas.

Airbnb claims "disproportionate" vacation rental regulations harm Canary Island families

The company asserts that it has played a role in “reducing” the impact of mass tourism relative to traditional lodging options and is conscious of local concerns. Airbnb advocates for the implementation of regulatory measures that promote more sustainable tourism practices in the decades to come.

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