Paris tops Airbnb world hotspot list

French capital overtakes New York as world’s most popular city on short-term rentals website

PARIS has overtaken New York as the number one city for holiday home-sharing on short-term lettings website Airbnb.

Some 40,000 properties in the French capital are now listed as available to rent on the website. New York, in comparison, has 34,000, while London has 23,000; Rio de Janeiro 17,000; and Barcelona 15,000.

In 2012, only 4,000 Parisian properties were listed, and five years ago that figure was as low as 50, Airbnb said.

Paris has become the most popular choice for people booking somewhere to stay via Airbnb. About 1.8million people have stayed at AirBnB-listed properties in the City of Light since 2008, the year the company was founded.

And it is hugely popular with the city’s residents, too, who use it more than anyone from any other city to find a place to stay elsewhere.

News of Paris’s love of Airbnb came as the company announced it would honour its legal obligation to collect the taxe de sejour from people booking stays in the city - and two weeks after hotel owners in the city wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Manuel Valls, demanding a crackdown on short-term letting websites.

The taxe de sejour amounts to between €0.20 and €0.75 per tourist per day and brings in some €40 million to the capital’s coffers every year. Following a meeting with Paris’s deputy mayor Bruno Julliard, Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky, told a press conference: “We want to make sure that hosts do comply with local laws and regulations. So whatever we can do to cooperate we would like to do that.

“Ultimately we’re allowing people that couldn’t have made an income to be able to share their space and we allow people who wouldn’t have been able to afford to come to Paris to come and stay.”

And Mr Julliard insisted that Airbnb was a boon for tourism in the city, despite the claims of hoteliers, saying that it opened the city up to younger tourists who may otherwise struggle to afford to visit.

Last March, a raft of laws were passed which directly affected landlords letting properties on a short-term basis to tourists.

And Paris has cracked down on illegal rentals. A 20-strong team was put together to check on apartments suspected of being rented out illegally.

“We can’t have entire neighbourhoods or buildings turned into tourist homes,” said Ms Hidalgo’s housing advisor Ian Brossat at the time. “We’re fighting to keep Parisians inside Paris and we won’t let tourist rentals eat up their space.”

Airbnb also that Paris would host the next Airbnb Open, an annual get-together to which hosts who list their properties on the site are invited. Until now, all such gatherings have taken place in the company’s home city of San Francisco.

Paris is the most popular city in the world for tourists, with more than 32million visitors flocking to the capital in 2013, and boosting the region’s economy to the tune of nearly €39bn.

Photo: Luke Ma