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Adios Airbnb!


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This week, Madrid’s city council has announced new measures that would cut over 95% of Airbnb listings.

The new regulation aims to prevent housing from being let exclusively to tourists following complaints that short-term rentals are driving rent prices up. The rise of peer-peer renting platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway over the past decade has struck up much debate as to whether this new form of holidaying is a positive phenomenon or has detrimental effects on local people and businesses.

But are these changes proposed by Madrid’s council excessive?

Anti-tourism graffiti in Madrid's Plaza Dos de Mayo. Image credit: Fiona Govan

Different restrictions are to be applied to four different zones, with Madrid’s central district most affected. This includes the popular Chueca, Sol, Lavapiés and Malasaña neighbourhoods that welcome thousands of tourists every year.

Tourist flats will no longer be allowed to be rented out for more than 90 days in a year. Other criteria state that tourist flats in the central area will require a separate entrance to the street than permanent residents. This would rule out all but a few of the ground floor properties in the city, given that Madrid's structural make-up consists mainly of apartment blocks, rather than houses.

Image credit: RubyGoes, via Flikr.

The new legislation has been announced in a climate that is becoming increasingly aware of the effects of mass tourism. While tourism provides 11% of Spain’s economic output, the benefits do not necessarily outweigh the negative consequences, according to many locals.

Valencia, the largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, announced similar measures earlier in the week in a bid to tackle the growing tourism problem. Palma de Mallorca similarly banned all unlicensed tourist flats in the city in February this year following rising local complaints.

These actions taken by local governments across Spain will please locals who have complained about disrespectful tourist behaviour and attitudes. But in the long run, will these changes discourage tourists from travelling to Spain to the detriment of Spain’s economy?

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