Paris mayor warns Olympics organisers over Airbnb deal
by Daniel Harries
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo's attack on Airbnb is part of a common trend across Europe (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo's attack on Airbnb is part of a common trend across Europe (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The sponsorship deal between Airbnb and the Paris Olympics has drawn criticism from the city's mayor, who says the short-term rental firm contributes to raising rents.  

Mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, responding to the nine-year deal under which Airbnb will help provide accommodation at three Olympic games and two winter Olympic games.

Hidalgo told Bach she was writing to alert the IOC about the "risks and consequences" of the deal, according to Reuters.  

"By taking out a significant number of properties in Paris, Airbnb is contributing to price rises for housing, and worsening the shortage of housing in the rental market, penalizing all Parisians and, in particular, the middle class," Hidalgo wrote.  

Short-term rentals made using Airbnb can "cause a nuisance for residents, destabilize local trade and present tough competition for the traditional hotel trade," she added.  

Airbnb, whose headquarters are in San Francisco, has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2008 to become a leader in the short-term rentals market.  

Its expansion into Europe has led to a backlash from some local authorities. Politicians have criticized the company for pushing up rents and gutting neighborhoods where many properties are turned over to short-term rentals. 

Earlier this year, 10 European cities demanded action from the EU in their fight against Airbnb and other similar companies.

Representatives of Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Munich, Krakow, Valencia, Vienna, Amsterdam and Paris penned a letter stating that "Homes needed for residents to live and work in our cities, will become more and more considered as a market for renting out to tourists.”  

Announcing the tie-up with Airbnb, the IOC president said it would help host cities save and make the Olympic games more feasible and sustainable. 

Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said that the partnership would leave a "positive legacy for athletes and host communities," as well as give benefits for the company, such as integrated booking of accommodation with online ticket purchases. 

Source(s): Reuters