Italy: The Italian cities of Florence and Venice have set out a join manifesto to the country’s government laying out their plans for the future of tourism in Italy, including placing tighter restrictions on Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms.
A joint “Decalogo” – translated as the Ten Commandments – sent out by the two cities to the Italian government put forward a proposal to restrict short-term rental activities. Both Florence and Venice have fought back against perceived “over tourism” before the pandemic and see the opening up of the tourism industry as an opportunity to reset it.
Translated from Italian, the document read: “The short-term rental phenomenon needs to be better managed with clearer rules nationally.”
It added that some people “hide a business behind a rental”, a hint at the fact that short-term rentals pay significantly lower in taxes compared to other types of accommodation, such as B&Bs and hotels [21 per cent compared to 60 per cent].
The Decalogo went further by stating that rentals were driving people out of historical centres in cities such as Florence and Venice because the cost of renting is rising all the time.
“This hollowing out, perhaps not so visible until now, and maybe underestimated, is now clear to everyone – especially in cities such as Florence and Venice,” the report added.
Putting forward their proposals, the cities urged Italy’s government to qualify “holiday rentals” as those being rented out for less than 30 days at one time and impose a 90-day annual limit on how long short-term rentals can be rented out for tourism purposes. Owners would also be restricted from operating more than two holiday rentals in the same city, otherwise they would need to register as a business and pay higher taxes as a result.
Other major European cities, including Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and Prague, have taken significant steps to combat what they deem to be “overtourism” by restricting or even banning rentals in certain neighbourhoods, with some locals claiming that they are being marginalised from city centres due to rising rent prices.
In response, an Airbnb spokesperson told CNN: “Travel is changing — in the last quarter of 2020, more guests stayed in Sicily than in Florence and Venice combined — and we look forward to working with cities to help local economies bounce back. Leaders in Florence and Venice have made clear that they support regular people sharing their homes and we are eager to work together on a way forward that supports families and communities.”
Other initiatives being suggested as part of the Decalogo include regulating guided tours, imposing harsher punishments on those who damage historical artefacts and property, creating so-called “smart control rooms” to monitor the flow of tourists entering the two cities, and raising the prices for public transport.