San Diego County 2nd-most popular Airbnb summer destination in state

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County was the second-most popular destination in the state this summer for travelers using the short-term vacation rental platform Airbnb, the company announced Monday.

Roughly 482,400 people stayed in an Airbnb somewhere in the county between Memorial Day and Labor day, according to the company’s data. The rentals generated about $112 million in supplemental income countywide and $75 million in the city of San Diego.

Pacific Beach and Mission Beach were the two most popular neighborhoods for Airbnb renters, according to the company. The cities of Oceanside and Encinitas followed San Diego as the county’s most popular cities in which to stay.

The county trailed only Los Angeles County among the state’s most popular destinations, which also included San Francisco, Orange and Santa Clara counties.

“San Diego continues to be one of the most popular destinations for travelers to California,” Airbnb Senior Policy Director Laura Spanjian said. “Throughout the summer of 2019, we have continued to see the significant, positive impact of our short-term rental community across the county.”

Short-term vacation rentals have been a flashpoint in San Diego for more than a year, drawing regular condemnation from elected officials in the city and county’s beach communities, who argue the industry is contributing to the ongoing housing crisis.

The San Diego City Council approved regulations to the industry in July of last year that would have restricted property owners from using a primary residence as a short-term vacation rental for more than 180 days a year, among other restrictions.

However, the council voted to repeal the ordinance last October after City Councilman Scott Sherman and a group of short-term rental advocates collected enough signatures to qualify a referendum on the regulations. Since then, city officials have been largely hamstrung on how to tackle the issue.

City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who represents the city’s northern coastal areas like La Jolla and Torrey Pines, has made combating the short-term rental industry a key legislative goal and a major part of her current run for mayor of San Diego. On Sunday, she received the endorsement of Save San Diego Neighborhoods, a local anti-STRV group.

Airbnb has argued that the vast majority of the money generated through its rentals remains within the property owner’s community. Since its founding in 2008, the company said its hosts have kept 97% of rental revenue and have earned more than $65 billion combined by renting their properties.

“With more guest arrivals this summer than ever before, hosts and small businesses have been able to enjoy the opportunities created by an expanded tourism economy,” Spanjian said. “We look forward to continuing to work with cities across the county to ensure short-term rentals can continue to play a strong role in the San Diego economy.”

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