During the past decade, digital platforms like Airbnb and Uber have enabled the development of a new generation of entrepreneurs in tourism and mobility. The mediation of services through digital platforms was initially presented as a form of a sharing economy led by non-professional providers, but it has grown into a new form of capitalist speculation. This special issue presents theoretical and empirical perspectives on platform-mediated tourism by focusing on Airbnb, which is the most notable digital platform specialising in short-term property rental. The case studies included in this issue show that the impacts of short-term renting on neighbourhoods, residents and tourism operators are uneven, but increasingly significant. The authors explore issues of social justice in terms of residents' quality of life, working conditions, the housing market, urban structure, and the morality of operators who navigate through normative loopholes. They also examine the governance challenges caused by the inadequacy of existing legal frameworks to better regulate platform-mediated activities, and the reactions generated by social movements and city governments. With the outbreak of Covid-19, networks of cities are taking action against platforms to regain their control over data that is needed to regulate platform-mediated tourism services.
Fields of Science
- 519 Social and economic geography