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2019-08-23 [ ]

Airbnb, housing, and tourism in Vienna

A new publication sheds light on the effects of Airbnb on tourism in Vienna.

Kadi, J., Plank, L. & R. Seidl (2019) Airbnb as a tool for inclusive tourism?, Tourism Geographies (open access)


Airbnb prominently argues to promote more inclusive forms of tourism through enabling ordinary households to occasionally share their home with tourists. This conventional understanding of ‘home-sharing’ has been challenged, however, with critics arguing that property owners and landlords use the platform for the commercial provision of permanent holiday homes. This article uses Airbnb provision practices and the dichotomy of ‘home-sharing’ and commercial provision as an empirical entry point into the debate to what extent Airbnb promotes more inclusive tourism development. While existing studies on Airbnb provision practices in the European context have predominantly focused on the major tourism centres with the biggest tourism numbers, we consider a second-rank European tourist city with a rapidly growing Airbnb supply, Vienna, Austria. Methodologically, we critically review and extend common approaches to identify commercial practices. Based on a new dataset of Airbnb listings, quantitative statistics and GIS, we find that, in Vienna, the notion of ‘home-sharing’ is insufficient to fully explain the characteristics of the Airbnb supply, with commercial practices playing a considerable part, yet in geographically uneven ways. Our extended methodological framework provides further, more differentiated insights into provision practices than previous studies. We conclude by relating our findings back to debates on inclusive tourism development and discuss questions for further research.