Fernando Medina assures that after the Covid-19 pandemic passes, Lisbon is “getting rid” of Airbnb and turning temporary holiday accommodation into homes for essential workers. The mayor of Lisbon (CML) said that “Now is the moment to do things differently.”
Despite recognising that the Portuguese capital has benefited from thousands of tourists in recent years, Fernando Medina points out that a “social price” has also been paid for this movement, in an opinion article published this Sunday in the British newspaper The Independent.
“Essential workers and their families have increasingly been forced out as Airbnb-style holiday rentals have taken over a third of Lisbon’s city centre properties, pushing up rental prices, hollowing out communities and threatening its unique character,” wrote the mayor.
To reverse this trend, Medina proposed to give priority to affordable housing for hospital and transport workers, teachers and “thousands of others who provide our essential services is possible.”
In addition, he also announced “working closely with the private companies renovating some of the city’s neglected buildings to ensure they create much-needed affordable housing in the process.” Still, the mayor points out that “none of this means we don’t want tourism or need visitors to return to Lisbon as quickly as possible (…) It’s simply time we do things differently and visitors will ultimately benefit.”
Medina argued that the trend to return to the city centre, which is taking place “from Melbourne to Paris”, also contributes to the fight against climate change by reducing long journeys to work.