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HOTREC Makes Recommendations for Regulating Short-term Rentals in the EU

HOTREC, the voice of the European hospitality industry, is calling for an EU-wide framework that will introduce clear and consistent obligations for short-term rental platforms and hosts and which will enable effective oversight of short-term rental activities by local and national authorities.

In a new report focused on the short-term rental market, HOTREC provides clear recommendations on how EU-wide regulation could set effective rules and measures to support the establishment of a level playing in the industry. HOTREC’s report has been developed with the support of Toposophy.

“This is an encouraging time for European tourism and hospitality to welcome an EU regulation that could provide common solutions to the challenges posed by short-term rental services,” HOTREC Director General Marie Audren said.

EU proposal coming in the fall

HOTREC’s report comes while the European Commission is expected to unveil its proposal for a set of regulations for short-term rentals (STRs) later this year.

“Updating this set of rules in line with the needs of stakeholders, destinations, and residents is the first step to securing a fair, transparent, competitive and sustainable environment,” Audren added.

According to HOTREC, over the past decade, short-term rental services in Europe have been growing exponentially, thus exposing tourism and hospitality businesses and local communities to several risks: unfair competition, consumer exposure to safety hazards, unreported tax income, and, above all, the increasing pressure on local residents’ access to affordable housing.

In the report, HOTREC highlights that regulated accommodation (hotels) has to comply with labour, tax, environmental, intellectual property, safety, health, food and many other obligations.

“This, in the end, creates great barriers to entry and exit, not sought by the sector, undermining flexibility and which leads them to comply with heavy regulation while competing service providers (short-term rental owners) do not,” HOTREC notes.

Photo Source: Airbnb

Moreover, the association underlines that effective, proportionate and fair rules for short-term rental services are essential to bring the industry in line with fellow tourism service providers and ensure that the industry is effectively contributing to the ‘real’ economy, supporting the rebirth of European tourism in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

EU-wide regulation – what is needed

HOTREC believes that any EU regulatory initiative on the short-term rental industry should be guided by the following objectives:

● Introduce a robust and efficient EU-wide registration system that supports oversight by public authorities, facilitates compliance by hosts, and aligns with data held by platforms.
● Outline clear and comprehensive data-sharing requirements in line with the GDPR for hosts and platforms to ensure effective regulatory compliance and the development of statistics.
● Give municipalities flexibility on fixing market access rules while clarifying how such rules comply with the requirements of the Services Directive.
● Support the collection of due taxes by sharing all relevant data with national fiscal authorities and ensuring that hosts are fully informed about reporting requirements.
● Ensure the safety and security of guests and employees by applying comparable standards as those upheld by regulated tourism service providers and facilitate enforcement at the local level.

The association’s report is available here.

HOTREC is the umbrella association of Hotels, Restaurants, Bars and Cafés and similar establishments in Europe, which brings together 47 National associations in 36 countries.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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