Online tourism sector is not the Wild West

11 April 2017
Le secteur du tourisme en ligne n’est pas le Far West

The European Commission wants to make the online tourism sector more honest, MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt notes with satisfaction. “It's good that the Commission is sending the signal to big players that dominate the entire market that they have to respect the rules too. Indeed, they often mislead the consumer. Two in three websites display incorrect or unreliable prices. The Commission now wants to tackle this more firmly," says Anneleen Van Bossuyt.

Together with stricter supervision of booking websites, the Commission also appears to want to put an end to the ban or the very strict rules in cities such as Berlin, Barcelona and Brussels, which make it impossible to offer a room for short-term rental via websites like Airbnb. "According to the Commission, they are at odds with the European laws on establishing a commercial activity and carrying out a service," Anneleen Van Bossuyt explains.

Clear rules

The measures of the Commission are part of a broad European plan for online platforms such as Spotify, Uber, Trivago and the above-mentioned Airbnb. "The Member States and the platforms must all realise that offering services on the internet is not the Wild West, where they can impose rules at their own discretion or just act as they see fit. If we want a successful European market full of creative applications, we must ensure that there are clear rules. With respect for consumer rights and without stifling innovation. Otherwise we will forever be one step behind the United States."

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