The European Commission has secured a landmark data-sharing agreement with Airbnb, Booking, Expedia, and TripAdvisor.
As part of the deal, statistical office Eurostat will for the first time be able to publish reliable data on short-stay accommodations offered through each platform across the European Union.
This, according to the European Commission, will contribute to more complete statistics on tourist accommodations across Europe, allow public authorities to better understand the development of the collaborative economy and support evidence-based policies.
Covering a variety of sectors, the collaborative economy is rapidly growing across Europe.
A survey conducted by Eurostat in 2019 showed that 21 per cent of EU citizens used a website or an app to arrange accommodation from another person, and eight per cent have done the same for transport services.
In the tourism sector, the commission said the collaborative economy provides exciting opportunities for citizens as consumers as well as for micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs.
However, its rapid development has led to challenges, particularly in popular tourist destinations.
Cities and other communities are seeking to strike a balance between promoting tourism, with the economic benefits it brings, and maintaining the integrity of local communities.
“Tourism is a key economic activity in Europe,” commissioner Thierry Breton, who is responsible for Internal Market, 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.”
Featured image: European Union flags (iStock.com/sharrocks)