Short-term accommodation rentals represent nearly one-third of the total EU supply of tourist accommodation, and this has been boosted by the rise of online platforms. During a debate promoted by the Commission for Natural Resources of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), local and regional leaders discussed the implications of a trend that, over the years, has created opportunities for travellers, SMEs and local economies, especially in rural areas, but has also raised concerns in big European cities facing excessive tourism flows and a growing demand for affordable housing.
Demands and concerns from local leaders were collected in a draft opinion that was met with great acclaim during the NAT Commission meeting. The rapporteur Roberto Ciambetti, President of the Veneto Regional Council and ECR member, underlined that "short-term rentals have emerged rapidly in recent times, offering opportunities for both hosts and travellers. This EU framework could help to promote a more balanced tourism ecosystem, and encourage travellers to turn to smaller towns and rural communities, which in turn would alleviate pressure on big cities."
The new EU regulation should allow for a balance to be struck between the promotion of sustainable tourism that has the least negative impact on local communities and enabling online platforms to strive in the Single Market. Tourism represents more than 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the European Union (EU) and employs 26 million people, explained Mr Ciambetti, for which reason he considers it necessary to "define a transparent common model" that is "capable of counteracting illegal practices and forms of unfair competition".
Mr Ciambetti's opinion, "Short-term accommodation rental services: balancing the needs of local communities, entrepreneurs and travellers", is scheduled for adoption during the CoR's plenary session in March 2023.