Airbnb: Bane or Boon?

Nearly 35 million visitors flock to San Diego every year, according to the San Diego Tourism Authority. And even with 61,000 hotel rooms in the county, San Diego ranked second only to Los Angeles statewide for Airbnb stays in 2016.

But the city attorney’s office officially prohibits short-term rentals, framing a debate that has confounded both sides for years. Those in favor claim a boon to personal and city income, as well as a benefit for travelers seeking affordable shelter; those against point to the takeover of beach communities and to noise complaints.

They also argue that there’s already a lack of long-term housing; new residential building permits were down 20 percent last year, per the Building Industry Association of San Diego County. A 10-hour December city council meeting failed to reach consensus; as of January, regulations were still being drafted by the mayor’s office.

But Airbnb maintains that what’s good for our tourists is good for our city. "Airbnb is bringing valuable tourism dollars to small businesses across San Diego," says Airbnb Press Secretary Jasmine Mora, who argues that many areas, like Hillcrest and North Park, don’t have enough hotels to meet demand.

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