MADRID Feb 7 The Spanish city of Barcelona on
Tuesday rejected modifications by home-renting site Airbnb to
its platform which aimed to ease a dispute with local
authorities worried that visitor crowds are overwhelming the
Catalonia is Spain's most popular tourist destination and
its capital attracted more than 8 million visitors in 2015,
according to the latest official figures, raising concern t it
has hit saturation point and posing a headache for its 1.6
Airbnb, which was fined in November for failing to comply
with local tourism laws, said in a letter it would limit the
number of listings per host and facilitate the collection of
tourist tax from those advertising apartments.
"This is a joke," city hall spokeswoman Susana Suarez said.
"It's not clear in the letter whether (Airbnb) agrees to comply
with the law and stop advertising illegal apartments."
Airbnb's conciliatory move comes after a city crackdown
which included a fine against the platform in November for not
complying with local tourism laws, a charge Suarez said the
company also failed to address.
Last month leftist mayor Ada Colau also blocked the
construction of new hotels and restricted licenses for new
tourist apartments in central Barcelona. Licences outside the
centre have also been strictly limited as part of the plan.
The platform maintains it is part of the solution in
Barcelona, launching a mediation tool that allows neighbours to
report any issues concerning an Airbnb host.
The San-Francisco based start-up is no stranger to conflict
with disputes in other cities like Berlin and Paris that claim
it deprives locals of accommodation for permanent rent and hikes
(Reporting by Amanda Calvo; Editing by Paul Day and Angus