A letter from Hywel Williams to AirBnB
Throughout this unprecedented Covid 19 crisis we have seen evidence of Airbnb enabling tourism in our area, against official advice, now against the law, and most obviously against plain common sense and a common decent concern for others.
We are astonished that you have allowed some of your owners to explicitly advertise their properties as safe bolt holes, which they are not, and even to provide advice to potential customers on ways of avoiding police attention.
We are angered that your company seems to have so little regard for the host communities on which, eventually, you depend upon to make your substantial profits. Your business model is a matter for yourselves. But you must be aware of the reputational damage being done to you by your inexplicable and reckless inaction.
We call on you to guarantee that you will now in no way promote or enable the movement of visitors to our area.
You must identify and delete entries from owners who are flouting the law and endangering the lives of everyone, most acutely the lives of our emergency and health care workers who will suffer the consequences of your irresponsibility.
Those owners should be permanently excluded from your service.
You should also recognise, and in the future advantage, the majority of your owners who are taking a responsible attitude and who are not letting their properties, particularly those owners who are providing accommodation for key workers and those suffering the effects of the crisis.
You should make a public statement to this effect immediately.
We do note that on April 2nd you provided hosts with a link to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020. This passive response is insufficient as it requires hosts to make their own interpretation of these regulations, and, in some instance, appears to be equipping unprincipled individuals with the terminology with which to encourage non-essential travel.
Within a few days our area would usually be buzzing with happy Easter visitors enjoying the wonderful holiday resources of our area. That is how it will be again. But for the time being there should be silence. If there is not, if lives are endangered, if lives are lost, your company will bear some of the responsibility and should rightly face consequences.
We demand that you act now, finally, as indeed any responsible corporate citizen would have acted many weeks ago.