Istanbul hoteliers suffer amid spike in ‘illegal’ lodging

The occupancy rate of Istanbul hotels dropped to 58 percent in the first quarter of 2015, in what hoteliers claim is due to the illegal rental of apartments and rooms to tourists, according to a report in the Dandunya daily on Monday.
Istanbuland’s hotels had a 63.8 percent occupancy rate as of November 2014, according to industry figures. Hoteliers are convinced that the rising popularity of unorthodox and informal lodging is responsible for the decline. and”If this continues, hotels will start to close down. The hotel business is dying in Istanbul. Prices and occupancy rates are very low,and” Turkish Hoteliersand’ Association (TUROB) President Timur Bayindir told Dandunya.
Websites such as airbnb.com enable homeowners to rent out individual rooms or their entire home to visitors. Such an arrangement has become extremely popular with tourists around the world — particularly families or those traveling in groups — as the rate for an entire apartment is often cheaper than a hotel room, which lacks space and amenities such as a kitchen. However, the practice is technically illegal as these private homes lack the proper licenses required by hotels.
Hoteliers have complained that prices in hotels that are considered to be among the best in Europe have fallen to as low as TL 170 per night, rates that would be out of the question at three-star hotels in many parts of Europe, according to the report.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman