'Our partners respect the laws': Olympics chief backs Airbnb deal

Lausanne (AFP) –


IOC president Thomas Bach attempted Thursday to ease concerns over its new partnership deal with Airbnb, insisting "all our top partners respect the rules and regulations of the host country".

Home rental company Airbnb last month announced a nine-year deal to become a leading partner of the Olympics that drew strong criticism from Paris, host of the 2024 summer Games.

City mayor Anne Hidalgo, who is up for re-election next May, sent a letter to the IOC warning Bach about the "risks" of the deal.

Paris alone has 65,000 listings on Airbnb, and there are thousands more in the nearby suburbs that will house many of the venues for the 2024 Olympics.

"All our top partners respect the rules and regulations of the host country and city, and with this agreement with Airbnb, this did not change," Bach told Thursday's press conference in Lausanne.

"We have also explained that this agreement is complementary to the offer of accommodation in hotels, traditional accommodation, and we see this as a great addition to the hotels in Paris and in France."

Hidalgo has vowed to tighten oversight of Airbnb rentals and promised to hold a vote on how home-sharing platforms should be regulated, at a time when many residents blame Airbnb for driving up rents.

French hotel owners warned they would stop working on the planning for the 2024 Olympics to protest against what they call an unfair competitor.

French hotels have long accused home rental platform Airbnb of taking advantage of minimal oversight to undercut their business, and have been lobbying authorities for a crackdown on short-term tourist rentals.