Tourism platforms sign data-sharing deal with EU

Data from sites like Airbnb and Tripadvisor will be published by Eurostat and could inform policy decisions

The European Commission has agreed on a data-sharing partnership with Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and Tripadvisor to publish data on short-term accommodations across Europe. 

The data will allow public authorities to better understand the development of the sharing economy and use it as evidence-based support for policy decisions.

Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, will publish the information every three months, with the first announcement expected for later in the year. The data will be anonymised and will include the number of nights booked, the number of guests and will be organised by the town or city of stay.

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The sharing economy, also known as the collaborative economy, is a varied sector covering industries such as hospitality, transport, and tourism. It's already a significant part of the European economy, with Eurostat data suggesting that 21% of EU citizens used either a website or app to book accommodation in 2019.

Its rapid growth has resulted in cities and towns trying to find a balance between the economic benefit of promoting tourism and maintaining the integrity of the community, according to Thierry Breton, European Commissioner responsible for Internal Markets.

"Tourism is a key economic activity in Europe," Breton said. "Short-term accommodation rentals offer convenient solutions for tourists and new sources of revenue for people. At the same time, there are concerns about impact on local communities. 

"For the first time, we are gaining reliable data that will inform our ongoing discussions with cities across Europe on how to address this new reality in a balanced manner. The commission will continue to support the great opportunities of the collaborative economy while helping local communities address the challenges posed by these rapid changes."

Chris Lehane, Airbnb's senior VP of global policy and communications, called in a "landmark partnership" that will help cities access the information they need to regulate home-sharing effectively.

"We believe that platforms have a responsibility to work with governments and our commitment to cities is long-term and ongoing," he said. "We hope this data will be a vital resource for governments at all levels as we continue to collaborate on effective regulations that work for everyone."

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