French hotel groups threaten to withdraw from Olympics planning over Airbnb partnership
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French hotel owners assailed Airbnb on Wednesday over its new partnership with the International Olympic Committee, warning they would stop working on the planning for the Paris 2024 summer Games to protest against what they call an unfair competitor.
French hotels have long accused home rental platform Airbnb of taking advantage of minimal oversight to undercut their business, and have been lobbying authorities for a crackdown on short-term tourist rentals.
“Airbnb doesnt play by the rules, and must be disqualified,” the GNI association of independent hotels said in a statement during an industry gathering in the Atlantic coast resort town of Biarritz.
“Hotels are going to suspend their participation in the organisation of the 2024 Games,” said Laurent Duc, head of the main UMIH hotel trade group, which organised the Biarritz conference.
“Already the (Airbnb) platform objects to passing on the visitors tax with clearly identified addresses and owners, as required by law,” he told AFP.
In a statement, the UMIH and the GCN alliance of hotel chains called the Olympic partnership “inappropriate”.
“It is outrageous to make this company, which spurs deregulation in countries around the world, a global partner of the IOC,” it said.
Paris City Hall quickly voiced its support for the hotel sector on Wednesday, calling their “cry of alarm… normal” in view of the general “destabilisation” of the hotel sector caused by the platform.
The UMIH sued Airbnb in June 2018 for “knowingly violating” rules imposed as part of a crackdown in one of the US giants biggest markets.
Paris alone has 65,000 listings on Airbnb, and there are thousands more in the nearby suburbs that will house many of the venues for the 2024 Olympics.
Where is the morality?
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has also vowed to tighten oversight of Airbnb rentals after warning IOC President Thomas Bach about the “risks” of the partnership.