Airbnb seeks growth in Japan before major sports events

Tokyo: Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk has said the home-sharing firm wants to grow in Japan ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

It comes a year since the passing of a law that legalised the private lodgings operator in the country. Now, Airbnb is looking to capitalise on a growing market ahead of a big 12 months that will see two major sporting events be held on Japanese soil.

Speaking in a press conference in Tokyo, Blecharczyk said: “Events such as the (2020 Tokyo) Olympics and the Rugby World Cup (this autumn) are really powerful catalysts where there just simply are not enough accommodations for all the people who want to come.

“We know that’s going to be a big driver of business and most importantly be something that helps consumers come to Japan and spend their money and have a great impression of the country,” he added.

Since the aforementioned law came into effect on 15 June last year, Japanese listings on Airbnb have grown from around 13,000 to roughly 50,000. This was reported by AirbDatabank, an online service which is designed to monitor the Japanese short-term rental market on a daily basis.

Although it had around 55,000 Japanese listings in May 2018, Airbnb was required to delete the listings of unlicensed private lodgings in the country under the newly-imposed law. It was enforced as a way of coping with an increase in foreign visitors and set about trying to mitigate the consequent shortage of hotel rooms.

Even now, filtering out unlicensed properties listed on Airbnb is proving to be an uphill task for the firm as the government continues to alert it to private lodgings that are operating illegally.

In response, Blecharczyk said that Airbnb was taking combative measures, including cooperation with the Japanese government and local municipalities and permitting registered lodging providers to upload their certificates to the platform.

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