Associations representing tourism and relevant sectors in Europe are eagerly waiting for the European Commission to announce a regulatory framework for short-term rentals (STRs) in Europe by the end of the year.
More specifically, the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) and HOTREC– the umbrella Association of Hotels, Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes and similar establishments in Europe – welcomed the news adding that the time had come to ensure a level playing field and fair competition in hospitality and tourism.
The two associations as well as relevant bodies in Greece have repeatedly called for the immediate regulation of short-term rentals, which they say, are still “largely uncontrolled and unregulated”.
In spring, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), representing the majority of Greece’s tourism enterprises, proposed VAT, a special municipal tax, a property cap and rental time limits as part of a set of rules to that will regulate Airbnb-style activities, which they said, were distorting healthy market competition.
EFFAT-HOTREC: Airbnb-style rentals have created many challenges
According to the associations, Airbnb-style rentals have created many risks and challenges, including unfair competition, safety hazards, unreported income taxes and pressure on affordable housing.
Following an assessment of the impact of STRs on business and employment in the hospitality sector, tourism and hospitality stakeholders agree that specific actions are needed to address the challenges and to guarantee fair play and equal responsibilities.
Among others, they propose the upcoming Commission initiative should:
– establish a mandatory host registration system and data-sharing obligations for STR platforms that will provide authorities with relevant data
– introduce measures that will ensure an equal standards of health, safety and security for guests and employees as those already being implemented by regulated tourism accommodation services
– ensure that basic rules apply to all STR hosts (professionals and peer)
– ensure that legislation is fully respected by all hospitality and tourism services providers through effective enforcement.
The aim of the regulatory framework should be to protect customers, ensure employees are treated fairly and entitled to their rights, and that responsible businesses enjoy a fair competitive environment.
“We strongly believe that incorporating these tasks in the upcoming legislative proposal would safeguard the competitiveness of hospitality businesses, the majority of which are microenterprises, protect the jobs of thousands of employees working in the sector, and promote consumer trust,” EFFAT and HOTREC said in a joint statement.
Earlier this year, Cities in Europe also called on the Commission to take legislative action that will limit Airbnb-style rentals and tackle illegal short-term operations fearing that a post-pandemic boom in tourism will threaten the livability of cities and the affordability of housing.