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European cities call on sharing economy to "play by the rules"

European Cities Marketing pleads for collaboration with local authorities

Pictured: Ignasi de Delàs, president of European Cities Marketing

More than 100 major cities in 36 countries have asked the prime movers in the sharing economy to play by local rules and collaborate with local authorities.

The president of European Cities Marketing (ECM), Ignasi de Delàs pleaded during the ECM’s Annual Meeting and General Assembly:
“We urge key players to do their utmost to play by local rules in order to make the pie bigger, i.e. increase the total number of visitors to some destinations, attracted by what sharing economy platforms offer there. However, up to now, the growth of the tourism sharing economy has largely happened with engagement of every other stakeholder group except governmental authorities.

“If managed properly, the sharing economy can be a tool that can prove highly cost effective, provide opportunities for deeper citizen engagement and offer considerable rewards on environmental impact too", he said.

The meeting had set out to deliberately explore the impact of the sharing economy on city tourism, city marketing and the meetings industry.
It concluded that the so-called sharing economy or connected economy is not only challenging the well-established business models of city tourism, but it is also presenting great challenges and opportunities to city planners, managers and marketers.

Ignasi de Delàs explained: "The big question for our city management organisations is not whether to be pro or con the sharing economy. It is how destinations can actively interact with it, simply because this phenomenon is here to stay."
The sharing economy is the fastest growing segment in tourism, estimated to represent 50 per cent of all travellers by 2025, expecting to equal traditional rental economy's revenue growth. The sharing economy also has a bright future within the meetings Industry since 65 per cent of business travellers would use the sharing economy for business purposes, according to a recent IMEX survey.

European cities are collectively asking the influential bodies in the sharing economy to play by the local rules to rationalise, legalize and facilitate growth of the sector. 

Tax evasion, violation of labour rights and consumer protection laws are the main reasons the cities are asking for a big change. Objectively, the success of some tourist technological platforms have had a negative impact on some local neighbourhoods in Europe' (everyday visitor pressure, gentrification, crowding out of local life, driving up the cost of shopping and renting an apartment for local citizens, for example).

Ignasi de Delàs concluded: "The sharing economy is undoubtedly an added value for our cities and economies. It is also a great way for visitors to engage with the locals - to get the real and authentic city experience delivered by real people, living real lives.” 

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