The Mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hřib, recently said in an interview that “property owners would be barred from leasing out entire flats except when it was their own home and they were temporarily vacating it. Tourists demanding Airbnb rentals would be limited instead to single rooms in accommodation where the owner also lived.”
The idea was the focal point of a scheme to “give Prague back to the people of Prague and mitigate the negative effects of tourism,” he added.
He said Airbnb’s growth had turned the city into a “distributed hotel” and that failure to regulate it was “eating the city from inside”.
“In the past, you could limit the amount of tourists in the city simply by approving a certain number of hotels of certain capacity during the process of building permits,” said Hřib. “Now in Prague, there is no possibility for the city to limit the accommodation capacity for tourists. The numbers are really critical.”
Airbnb listed nearly 12,000 properties in Prague last year, according to Prague’s development institute IPR. The district encompassing the city center has lost nearly half its residents. Registered voters totaled 21,556 in 2017 from 36,862 in 1990.
The number of Airbnb outlets almost tripled from 5,537 in March 2016 to more than 13,000 in May 2018. Eighty percent of available rentals are entire flats.
Recently, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia, and Vienna have issued a joint letter calling on the European Commission to address problems to improve the legislative framework. The explosive growth of short-term stays has contributed to chronic housing shortages in their cities and locals out of the rental market for central flats.
Prague City Council has approved a proposal to join these ten other big European cities.
According to international research company Euromonitor International, the number of tourists visiting Prague has increased in 2019, reaching 9.2 million visits so far.
Prague is now the 22nd most visited city in the world.