Airbnb and Overtourism

In 2014, when Airbnb was still seen as an emergent and sympathetic ‘sharing’ initiative, it was intriguing how this would maybe one day impact the hospitality industry. In 2015, Albert Boswijk and Jeroen Oskam organised an expert panel at the Amsterdam Campus to discuss possible future outcomes. One of the (at that time) most shocking outcomes was that Airbnb would become a primarily commercial operation with a big impact on cities and their residents …

Hotelschool The Hague then started a research cooperation with Colliers International that allowed us to purchase AirDNA datasets with which we could analyse the development or Airbnb quantitatively. The first city report, for Amsterdam 2015, detected a demand growth of 474%, a finding that initially was met with unbelief but that was eventually corroborated. Further city reports were presented for European cities, and the Hotelschool research was picked up by national news media such as Trouw, NOS Nieuwsuur , but also by the New York Times, the Washington Post, Le Figaro, The Times Süddeutsche Zeitung and La Vanguardia .

The growth of Airbnb did not cause the tourist pressure in cities such as Amsterdam, but it certainly was one of the factors that contributed to the phenomenon that became known as ‘Overtourism’. Our research incorporated this topic as a ‘wicked problem’ that could not be solved simply by more stricter regulations, as its root causes had to be sought in the demand side of tourism.

Comprehensive overviews of our research into these topics can be found in the books The Future of Airbnb and the 'Sharing Economy': The Collaborative Consumption of our Cities (2019) and The Overtourism Debate: NIMBY, Nuisance, Commodification (2020).

Panel discusses the future of Airbnb, HTH Amsterdam Campus