The European Commission has reached an agreement with Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia Group and Tripadvisor under which the companies will provide the EU statistics office Eurostat with information on short-stay tourism around Europe.
The agreement, the Commission said, will give the EU access for the first time to reliable information on holiday and other types of accommodation offered by what it called “collaborative economy platforms” or the sharing economy. In that way, it will allow the gathering of statistics on tourist accommodation.
In a statement, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market, said: “Tourism is a key economic activity in Europe. Short-term accommodation rentals offer convenient solutions for tourists and new sources of revenue for people. At the same time, there are concerns about the impact on local communities.”
A survey conducted by Eurostat in 2019 showed that 21% of EU citizens used a website or an app to arrange accommodation from another person and 8% have done the same for transport services.
But the rapid development of the sharing economy has led to challenges, particularly in popular tourist destinations. As a result, cities and other communities are seeking to strike a balance between promoting tourism, with the economic benefits it brings, and maintaining the integrity of local communities.
Some popular tourist destinations, like Barcelona, however, have begun to take measures to hold back the tide of tourists, who are blamed for pushing up property prices and rents, making it impossible for native residents to find a place to stay.
“The Commission will continue to support the great opportunities of the collaborative economy, while helping local communities address the challenges posed by these rapid changes,” Commissioner Breton said.
“This important milestone will enable Eurostat to support public authorities around Europe that seek data on collaborative short-term accommodation services,” said Paolo Gentiloni, commissioner responsible for economy.
“For the first time, Eurostat will cooperate directly with industry to make reliable data covering the entire EU available in a coherent manner.”