Digital Services Act: HOTREC unveils position paper ahead of key European Commission legislative proposals

 

Online marketplaces, social networks, collaborative economy websites and search engines have in many regards changed the way customers book their accommodation, select their means of travelling, go out and discover local restaurants, bars and attractions. It has expanded choice and possibilities for consumers, invigorated competition, fuelled innovation and put new destinations on the map.

As such, HOTREC welcomes the European Commission’s aim to submit a proposal for a Digital Services Act package by the end of 2020, which would include a revision of the E-Commerce Directive and the introduction of new rules to address the power of gatekeeper platforms and structural competition issues – key subjects for the online hotel booking market – and has outlined its views in a position paper that can be consulted on HOTREC’s website:

  • Strengthen the bargaining power of European tourism and hospitality SMEs towards major online intermediaries – an essential issue to support the recovery of our sector amidst the Covid-19 crisis
  • Provide long-term legal certainty in the digital economy for platforms and business users
  • Create an appropriate governance framework for platform-driven services
  • Establish a level-playing field with collaborative economy services such as short-term rentals of accommodation and meal-sharing services.

While the European Commission is expected to present its proposal on 9 December at the time of writing, the European Parliament adopted a ‘legislative initiative’ report on 20 October. The report, prepared by Maltese S&D MEP Alex Agius Saliba, essentially confirms the general approach proposed by the European Commission on tackling illegal content while maintaining limited liability provisions and a ban on any general monitoring obligation. MEPs have added however key requests on regulating collaborative economy activities such as short-term rentals of accommodation.

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