Not long after a taxi driver revolt over Uber taxis taking over Paris' streets, luxury hotels have now declared war on Airbnb — which allows people to rent out their flats to tourists.
The problem is that some of these flats available to rent are as luxurious as the hotels and the guests just as well-heeled.
Hosts of around 400 private homes and apartments are commanding rents of almost $553 (€500) a night — but don't have to pay the same tax and social charges hotels do.
So-Called 'Sharing Economy' Giving Paris a Shake-Up
According to 'The People Who Share', the sharing economy "is a socio-ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organizations."
It includes companies like Uber, which allows private cars to become a common resource for people needing a lift, but has been accused of disrupting transportation markets around the world.
In Paris, taxi drivers burned tyres and blocked roads in protest at the company's behavior. Drivers of the city's traditional taxi service say they are angry because UberPOP breaches a new law on hiring drivers. Uber had ignored this rule — but has since suspended the service until a court ruling in September.
Airbnb now has more than 10 million guests as registered users and more than half a million properties listed. Meanwhile Uber says it's doubling its revenue every six months.
France's luxury hotel union, UMIH, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Manuel Valls, calling for rental sites like Airbnb to be forced to officially register at the City Hall and pay VAT.
In February 2014, Paris passed a law allowing inspectors to check if homes were being rented out to visitors illegally. Despite this, Airbnb remains 'a la mode' in Paris.