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France world's second biggest Airbnb market

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Airbnb's huge growth in France has not been without controversy. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP
10:16 CET+01:00
Some 3.9 million travellers have used Airbnb to visit France in the past year with the director of Airbnb for France claiming this contributed €2.4 billion to the French economy. But controversy continues to dog the firm.

The figures come from a study which was presented at the Airbnb Open conference in Paris, for which 6,000 Airbnb 'hosts' of 110 different nationalities are gathering in the French capital from Thursday to Friday.

The study covers the period from September 2014 to August 2015 and reveals that 3.9 million tourists stayed in France using Airbnb over this period, creating €218 million of revenue for the hosts.

This makes France Airbnb's biggest market after the US.

The accommodation sharing company also says it contributed €2.4 billion to the French economy – a figure calculated by combining revenue earned by Airbnb hosts with 'indirect' contributions to the economy, including holiday spending on meals and sightseeing by those using the home-sharing site.

"When you consider that 83 million people visited France this year, and that 100 million are expected annually by 2010, Airbnb is contributing to the growth of this figure," said Nicolas Ferrary, Director of Airbnb France, who also claims that Airbnb supports 13,300 jobs in France. 

Paris is the most visited city worldwide for Airbnb users, and France is the company's largest market after the United States. The country currently boasts 200,000 Airbnb rental properties, of which 60,000 are in the Paris region – a huge leap from the 4,000 Parisian Airbnb rentals available in 2012.

The study also told us that France's average Airbnb host is 42 years old and earns €1,970 per year from renting out their home for 26 nights. 

However, the company’s huge growth in France has not been without controversy. Last month, The Local reported on the negative impact of Airbnb on Paris’ luxury hotel industry. Francois Delahaye, managing director of the Plaza Athenee, said he had noticed clients "who reserved an apartment on Airbnb and then came to dine at the Plaza".

Delahaye estimated that such competition had eaten away 10 to 15 percent of business.

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Airbnb has defended itself by saying it is committed to ensuring its hosts pay hotelier tax, and that they are transparent in their earnings, but Paris' town hall believes up to 30,000 furnished second homes may be being rented out illegally in the city, some using sites such as Airbnb.

And this week The Local spoke to a Paris artist who claims Airbnb plagiarized the design of her apartment when creating their San Francisco office space.

Airbnb was created in San Francisco in 2008 and has 2 billion rooms across the world, in 34,000 cities and towns. An estimated 60 million people have used Airbnb since it was first begun. 

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