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03 October 2016 | Hoteles

Collaborative or illegal?

We share the article already published in Diario Expansión on September 20th, about the "sharing economy".

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It is said Airbnb is already the largest company in the hotel sector.  If we take this statement as true, it’s the first time a company becomes leader in its sector without owning any hotel and without even directly managing any establishment.  Airbnb has found a new niche, born in the search of an offer which accommodates to changing needs, which allows those who travel to share a single space rather than interconnected hotel rooms. Price is also a key factor, but not the only one, since there are as many hotels as prices, adapted for all budgets.

The traditional hotel industry calls on the administration to be fair and honest, and to call for new business models to meet their tax payment requirements corresponding to their activity. In addition to illegality, allowed and promoted by online portals that advertise and manage bookings, hoteliers notice how the term “collaborative" defines this economy, that leverages its positive connotations while the administration attends only part of the citizen demands and blocks both its structured growth, and the potential maintenance of its facilities which, if not feasible, leads them to deterioration and loss of competitiveness. 

Citizen complaints must be addressed, for those whose problems lie on the inconvenience caused by those staying in illegal establishments, but also for the rest of society members, including hoteliers from which they are part. To continue using the term “collaborative” is to confuse citizens who do not have to know that collaborative economy is the exchange of products and services without money intervening in the transaction. This is not what happens when we rent an apartment through one of these portals or when we book a hotel room. Each one achieves its objective and profit, with a respective payment in between, but for those who have their business properly regulated, in addition to receiving a price and obtaining a profit, they are subject to compliance with a set of rules and payments of the corresponding taxes. In the case of illegal apartments, economic exchange and financial profits occur, but on the contrary they are not subjected to regulation or tax payments.

We do not want unmanageable numbers of visitors, because it is not the tourist model that we want for Barcelona. To reject illegal businesses that do not comply with the rules and therefore they are not subject to tax payments, is the duty of any administration, regardless the political color of their leaders. The trace of time leading a city with a life of its own like Barcelona is beginning to prove that neither illegal hawking or illegal apartments are " collaborative " instead, they are illegal.

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