Airbnb and similar home sharing services is a big business in Prague, according to research conducted by the Prague Institute for Planning and Development. It found that only around 80% of homes are offered for a fee.

Radio Praha quoted Michal Němec of Prague Institute of Planning and Development as saying: “In May this year, there were around 11,500 flats in Prague offered for short-term rent via Airbnb and other shared accommodation services.

“Most of the flats on offer are in the historical centre of Prague. Overall, only 1.4% of all flats provide accommodation to visitors. But in the central part of the city, it was around 10% and in the Old Town it amounted to 20%.”

Opponents say that the surge in shared accommodation is excluding locals from the city centre and will ultimately lead to its depopulation. But Němec disagrees.

“We don’t think that services such as Airbnb can lead to the depopulation of the city centre. This had actually happened even before these services were introduced, and I would say Airbnb is rather a result of these changes,” he said.

“When we look at the offer on Airbnb and on the real estate websites, we can see that in the city centre there are currently more flats for short-term rents than for regular renting. But in the housing estates on the outskirts of Prague or in the less attractive localities, it is the other way around.”