Last five years have witnessed the birth and rapid sprawl of Airbnb, an app that offers short-term rentals across the world. Using as a case study the Historical quarter in Palma (Mallorca), the paper problematizes three of the basic self-created Airbnb assumptions: (i) Airbnb enrich low-income population. (ii) Airbnb invigorates the housing market (iii) Airbnb boost forms of tourism more acceptable by local residents.
This paper argues that the emergence of Airbnb is triggering a wave of tourism ledgentrification which is rooted in a substitution of the residential rental by a tourism rental market. This substitution has amongst other, three main consequences which are analysed in this paper. First, the eruption of tourism-oriented rentals as the main, if not only, form of land rent in this quarter. Second, the consolidation of large landowners and real estate agencies specialized on the Airbnb market. Third, an increase in the social contestation against tourism in Palma Old Quarter.