Prague makes Airbnb top 10

But at the same time the city is looking to limit internet bookings of flats

Prague is among the top 10 destinations this summer in terms of Airbnb bookings, according to a press release from the company. The Golden City was ninth, with London and Paris taking the top two spots. Eight of the top 10 were in Europe, while the other two were in Japan. The ranking were based on bookings for Memorial Day weekend, which is the last Monday in May. The weekend is seen as the start of the summer holiday season and an indicator of summer trends.

Prague was ahead of 10th placed Amsterdam, but will have to try a bit harder to beat Lisbon.

While bookings in Prague were reportedly up, the city was not in the top 10 for growth. That list was led by Havana, Cuba, up 940 percent from the previous year. La Ciotat, France, saw a rise of 675 percent. Cuba recently opened up to travel from the US, so the growth was not unexpected.

Airbnb is not the only service that allows people to rent out their flats to tourists. According to state agency CzechTourism from January to September 2016 the number of tourists accommodated in private or shared accommodation reached 2.2 million in the Czech Republic. Most of the people using such a booking system stayed in Prague.

The people coming to the Czech Republic to use private accommodation come most often from France, Italy and the UK, followed by the US. More than half of the people are visiting the Czech Republic for the first time.

Prague, though, has been looking at ways to regulate services such as Airnbn. Amsterdam, for example, now limits the short-term rental on a flat to 60 days in one year.

Neighbors of flats bought just to be rented out have been complaining about the noise and also the excess use of water, as people often crowd into a flat meant for a smaller number of people. Most apartment buildings pay collectively for water use. Neighbors have also been concerned about building security and theft.

Some people would like to see a law where a majority of owners in a building could ban internet rentals of flats.

The city is also concerned over the loss of taxes and other fees that hotels have to pay for accommodating guests.

Airbnb has argued in other cities that the number of tourists is larger than the number of hotel rooms, and the service as a result helps to increase tourism. That is not the case in Prague, according to critics, and services like Airbnb are simply businesses operating outside of the legal framework. Airbnb has operated in Prague for five years.

Some 7.07 million people visited Prague in 2016, with 6.05 million of them being foreigners, based on statistics from the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ).

The number of nights that visitors stayed also increased. Compared to the previous year, the number of tourists in Prague was up 7.0 percent, with foreigners rising 5.9 percent and residents up 14.3 percent. Tourists in Prague stayed for a collective 16.67 million nights, with 14.89 million overnight stays due to foreigners.

Most-booked destinations

1. London
2. Paris
3. Barcelona
4. Rome
5. Tokyo
6. Madrid
7. Osaka
8. Lisbon
9. Prague
10. Amsterdam

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