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Airbnb hosts hit back at fed-up locals complaining about tourists ruining the village

Stickers disparaging Airbnb properties were found posted around the town

  • Some locals in Llanberis, Wales have moved after holiday lets left homes on streets empty

  • It's become the latest town to be hit by AirBnb in-fighting

  • But AirBnb owners say they're bringing money and life to the town

Llyn Padarn and Llanberis from a hillside in Snowdonia national park, North Wales. A beautiful spring morning in the mountains.
Llyn Padarn and Llanberis from a hillside in Snowdonia national park, North Wales. Locals have hit out at AirBnb properties in the area. (Alamy)

Airbnb owners in a Welsh village have branded fed-up neighbours "unimaginative" after locals posted "death to AirBnb" stickers and complained that tourism was ruining the area.

Llanberis is a picture-perfect village in the north-west of Wales, situated at the foot of the country's highest mountain of Yr Wyddfa (Mount Snowdon).

But alongside the stunning views, the village has also been beset by local tensions surrounding the letting out of properties via Airbnb.

Some members of the Llanberis community have said the influx of tourists in the area had seen parties and fights in the streets, while some complained that Airbnbs were making it hard for local people to buy houses.

One local resident told MailOnline it was the sheer volume of holiday rental properties in the area that were causing the problem, adding: "I know of a woman whose street was taken over by Airbnbs.

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"She had no neighbours anymore and became really lonely. So she called it a day."

Yahoo News spoke to a number of Airbnb landlords in the area, many of whom spoke anonymously for fear of reprisals, with some saying they believed there would be little money in the area without tourism.

The presence of multiple Airbnbs has provoked a negative response in some parts of the community, (Wales News)
The presence of multiple Airbnbs has provoked a negative response in some parts of the community, (Wales News)
One owner said that they had turned to Airbnb after moving out of the area. (Wales News)
One owner said that they had turned to Airbnb after moving out of the area. (Wales News)

Locals can get 'creative' to make money

"The people who are being hostile are the people who aren't being creative or inventive about how they can benefit from the hospitality," Dr Serena Wagg, who has been an Airbnb host for eight years, told Yahoo News. "Before Airbnb, the area was a very poor place and there was no work there, so the amount of money and affluence coming in is astronomical.

"I don't see what we have to offer apart from tourism. There are so many facets to Airbnb and having more people around - the shops and cafes are benefiting, the people who own the Airbnbs are benefitting, engineers, plumbers electricians, the list goes on and on."

One owner said that they had turned to Airbnb after moving out of the area and having a bad experience with a long-term renter.

One AirBnb owner said the area had little in the way of business apart from through tourism. (Wales News)
One AirBnb owner said the area had little in the way of business apart from through tourism. (Wales News)
Looking down to Llanberis Pass from Mount Snowdon, Gwynedd, Snowdonia, north Wales, UK. (Photo by: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Looking down to Llanberis Pass from Mount Snowdon. (Getty Images)

"We would hate to see the house stand empty," Rhian Glass said. "We employ local people to clean for us and to maintain the property, we use the local launderette to do the laundry, we recommend restaurants and bars for our guests to enjoy which they do and also they use the shop in the village to get their bits and bobs.

"So our opinion is that tourism is important to Llanberis and tourists do contribute a lot."

'Vandalism is a concern'

Another owner, who did not want to be named as he said he was aware of some hostility towards Airbnb landlords, sad he did understand some of the frustrations people felt.

"There are strong opinions about AirBnb here, about tourism in general," he explained. "You look at it and say tourism isn't particularly well managed here, the park and ride is limited here with what it can cope with."

He also said that he had experienced some negative comments about his AirBnb property, adding "Certainly vandalism or stickers are a concern; if a building is defaced, who wants to come and stay in it?"

What is AirBnb?

The vacation rental site started life as a platform to help people host travellers (taking a cut of the cost) but has since evolved into serious business for some AirBnb landlords, who can make a living from renting out their empty properties to holidaymakers.

The site has also evolved to include local 'guides' (where local people can take tourists to explore the area), as well as in-person or online activities.

In Scotland, the government plans to introduce a new licensing scheme for short-term rental properties which would come into force on October

The new regulations would target people such as Airbnb owners. According to a poll by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, tourist accommodation businesses in Scotland could close their doors for good due to new licensing regulations, with 64% saying they are considering their future.

Are Airbnbs actually any cheaper?

New research suggests hotels generally beat Airbnb on price, according to a study which claimed many holidaymakers will be “surprised” by the finding.

Consumer group Which? compared the cost of thousands of hotel rooms with 300,000 one-bed listings on popular accommodation rental websites.

The study included 13 destinations in the UK and 37 across the rest of the world.

It found that a one-night stay in a hotel was an average of £101, compared with £120 across Airbnb and Vrbo.