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ECONOMY | 21-04-2018 19:06

AirBnB policy chief: ‘Tourism must work for communities’

Chris Lehane, global head of policy and communications, of the successful Company visited Argentina last week to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Jujuy, which will encourage shared tourism endeavours in that province.

Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s global head of policy and vommunications, visited Argentina last week to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Jujuy, which the San Francisco-based firm hopes will encourage shared tourism endeavours in that province.

“One of our principles is to work with local authorities on policies that address the issue of commercial activities impacting specific parts of the community,” Lehane said, speaking to the Times at the MALBA museum in Recoleta following the launch of the firm’s ‘Office of Healthy Tourism.’

“Tourism is going to be a big part of the economic sector so we need to ask ourselves: Are communities getting the ROI (return on investment) that they need? Platforms like ours can really drive healthy tourism,” Lehane added.

Asked about gentrification and AirBnB’s response to community backlash over its activities in certain cities, particularly in southern Europe, Lehane recognised “over-tourism” as a genuine concern for communities.

“We want to support the right kind of tourism that works for communities”, he said. “We can look at the number of properties a host controls or the amount of money they’ve being making.”

The company recently worked with the City of London on a 90-day cap on rentals aimed at distinguishing “between amateur and professionals with the latter being subject to a more rigid, regulatory process”, Lehane noted.

He also pointed to New Orleans which has put a 90-day cap on short-term rentals in its famous French Quarter, though its implementation there has been troublesome, according to statements local officials have made to the media. – TIMES

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Jayson McNamara

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