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Airbnb to boost listings in Japan, its fastest-growing market
[TOKYO] Airbnb Inc is looking to increase its number of listings in Japan, its fastest-growing market.
The number of guests for its short-stay home rental service has surged 529 per cent this year from a year ago, while listings are up 373 per cent to 21,000. That has created a shortage of supply, Yasuyuki Tanabe, the country manager of Airbnb Japan, said in an interview. On top of regulatory issues Airbnb faces in the country, having enough supply is also a challenge, he said.
"We call it supply constraints," Tanabe said. "We have many more people who want to come to Japan compared to the number of listings." A record 16.3 million people visited Japan in the first 10 months of the year from the same period last year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Record-high inbound tourism also has led to a shortage of hotel rooms in cities such as Tokyo and Osaka.
Airbnb has pledged to join with local governments and improve transparency as it faces scrutiny from hotels and policy makers who argue the home-sharing startup is driving up rental prices and failing to pay taxes like the hotel industry. Earlier this month, it released the "Airbnb Community Compact," a statement outlining its plan to cooperate with cities, and defending the positive economic impact of its business.