Airbnb boss says travel giant is taking steps to avoid overloading rural tourist hotspots

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Cottage in Aberdaron. Photo by A Crowe Photography is marked CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Recent changes to Airbnb’s website aim to protect places like Wales and Cornwall from over-tourism, says Brian Chesky, the travel giant’s founder.

Mr Chesky also warned that communities that limit tourism too much risk being perceived as xenophobic.

Airbnb introduced a new way to search for properties on its website earlier this week, with the home page offering to search by category, including property type, home features and location type, rather than by destination.

In conversation with the Daily TelegraphMr Chesky says the company hopes this change will help avoid congestion in rural hotspots.

“I hope they don’t all go to Cornwall, they don’t all look in one place,” he said.

“[Overtourism] is even worse when you think of small towns because you can overwhelm them quicker, so this is our attempt to counteract that.”

“We want everyone to be distributed rather than everyone going into one small community.”

“My opinion is that misfits and travelers are good, but it’s like a recipe. And you want most of the communities to be mostly local, with some outsiders, and if there are too many outsiders, there’s no community,” he added.

“But when there are no outsiders, I think about those kinds of communities.

“You are xenophobic; You are not open to new ideas.

“These aren’t really healthy communities either. I think you want a mix, I don’t know what the perfect ratio is.”

tourism tax

Last year Airbnb said they would support plans for a tourism tax in Wales and would work with the Welsh Government to develop the policy to combat overtourism.

A spokesman for Airbnb, which allows travelers to book hundreds of places to stay in Wales, told Nation.Cymru that they have already signed more than 1,000 regulatory and tax treaties worldwide and are used to complying with applicable taxes around the world raise.

“We support plans for a tourist tax in Wales and welcome the opportunity to work with Welsh leaders to make it a success, as we have already done by helping to generate almost £2.5 billion in tourist tax revenue approximately Generate 30,000 jurisdictions around the world,” the spokesman said.

Last November, Housing Secretary Julie James also announced the launch of a consultation on major changes to planning laws – which could affect AirBnBs as well as holiday homes – in response to long-standing demands from local authorities across much of rural North and West Wales.

Among the measures is that those wishing to use a home as a second home or short-term holiday rental must obtain planning permission before they can do so.

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