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New York (CNN Business) - Airbnb and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday announced a new partnership that will expand housing availability in host cities and could reduce the rising costs of organizing the sports show.
The agreement is "economically empowering, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable," the IOC and Airbnb said in a joint statement.
The agreement means that some Airbnb homes will be available to visitors and workers. New housing options could reduce the need to build new hotels. The IOC confirmed to CNN Business that the Olympic Village, where competing athletes are staying, will not be replaced by Airbnb homes.
The Olympic host cities have to plan, pay and build massive infrastructure projects that cost billions of dollars, largely with taxpayer money. Thousands of hotel rooms must be built to house athletes and tourists. Once the event ends, cities complain about the infrastructure that is not used. And the promised economic returns rarely come true.
The agreement begins at the next summer Olympic Games in Tokyo and covers five summer and winter Olympics until 2028 in some of the world's main tourist cities, such as Paris, Milan and Los Angeles. The financial terms were not disclosed.
Airbnb also becomes a global partner, which means that the brand will be presented along with the most recognized in the world, including Visa, Coca-Cola and Alibaba. Visibility will give Airbnb a boost before its next IPO that could occur in 2020.
The measure could also help polish the image of Airbnb. Several cities around the world have been fighting the short-term lodging company for “excessive tourism”; that is, the number of tourists exceeds the number of local inhabitants and makes life unaffordable.
For example, Barcelona passed new regulations that would slow down the construction of hotels in the city center and put a limit on private home rentals in 2017. Other cities, such as Amsterdam, London, Paris and Jersey City, have followed it. Airbnb defended itself and imposed rental limits and said it has worked with local governments on new rules to share homes.
The company has introduced a program called “One Host, One Home” to prevent people from listing and promoting multiple properties on the platform in some cities.