On April 23, an article appeared in the Gazet Van Antwerpen about disgruntled hotel managers. They feel there are too many Airbnb rooms for rent, and in a (large) number of cases, they are not even legal. So problems with Airbnb persist in Antwerp
According to the article, the number of lodgings have increased from 1494 in 2017 to 1942 today. A 30% increase. If we look that up on AIRDNA.CO we see that in Antwerp center today there are 1774 active rental units, across the whole city of Antwerp that comes to 2156.
The article rightly points out the various Airbnb’s that are not legal. They are not registered with Tourism Flanders, so they probably do not have proper fire protection and so are actually a danger to tourists.
It also correctly states that many landlords rent out multiple properties. That might be bad for the hotel industry. But it is certainly bad news for the many people looking for housing. This is the so-called “Gentrification” in which the original residents are being pushed out of their neighborhoods by increasingly expensive real estate. Tourism is one of the reasons.
We follow the hotel industry in both cases. So with the platform Fairbnb.coop, we are trying to address both problems. Our charter lists both points first:
- Fully comply with existing legislation at the local, regional and national levels.
- Our ‘one host one house’ rule where, especially in cities, we only allow 1 house
We have had to refuse lodgings on a regular basis because they do not comply with the above rules, especially the first rule !
Long-term vision ?
It is noteworthy, however, that the number of hotel rooms increased even faster than the number of Airbnb’s in the same period, by 50% ! We are therefore concerned about the overall quality of life and the lack of a solid tourism vision in Antwerp. Tourism Flanders and Minister Zuhal Demir elaborated on“Travel to Tomorrow” as their long-term vision. A vision around sustainable, regenerative tourism. Perhaps Minister Demir and Alderman Kennis, both NVA, should talk to each other ?