Airbnb incurs Paris wrath over Olympics partnership

LONDON (AFP) – Airbnb became a leading partner of the Olympics in a nine-year deal announced on Monday that drew strong criticism from Paris, host of the 2024 summer Games.

In the deal unveiled in London, the home rental platform became a “Top” International Olympic Committee (IOC) partner, joining titans including Coca Cola and Visa on the highest sponsorship level. But in a letter sent last week and seen by AFP on Monday, the mayor of Paris warned IOC Head Thomas Bach about the “risks” of the deal.

Socialist Anne Hidalgo, who is up for re-election in 2020, vowed her “total determination” to tighten rules on tourist rentals in the French capital. “By removing a significant number of lodgings from Paris, Airbnb contributes to rising rents and worsens the shortage of apartments on the rental market, at a cost for all Parisians,” Hidalgo wrote.

Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said on Monday that the IOC partnership “will ensure that the games are the most inclusive, accessible and sustainable yet”.

The IOC revealed no financial details, but Bach said that the “landmark” deal would help to bring the Olympics into “the digital age”.