Airbnb pact with CTO reflects growing Caribbean influence
Airbnb’s proliferation across Caribbean vacation destinations has led the region’s primary tourism group, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), to forge an agreement with the home-stay provider to jointly develop “a set of policy principles and recommendations on the sharing economy for Caribbean governments and other stakeholders” announced Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general.
Via the pact, Riley and Shawn Sullivan (Airbnb’s public policy director for Central America the Caribbean) will share data and studies about the “positive impact of the sharing economy in the region” and “identify ways to make it more inclusive.”
Riley said the joint discussions will provide CTO with “an economic analysis of Airbnb’s positive impact on local economies.” Additionally, tourism stakeholders will have opportunities to examine Airbnb’s aggregate data to evaluate “the value of peer-to-peer review mechanisms.”
Caribbean government officials and other stakeholders will, in turn, “learn about the long-term benefits of the sharing economy and home sharing in particular,” said Riley. The agreement will also lead to new avenues through which Caribbean destinations can address new vacation markets.
Airbnb has 41,000 listings in Caribbean destinations said Sullivan. A typical Caribbean host earns approximately $3,900 per year through Airbnb.
The CTO pact follows similar recent agreements between Airbnb and Aruba, Curacao and Jamaica. Hoteliers contend Airbnb’s proliferation in the Caribbean and significantly impacted their business in 2016, when Caribbean resort profitability declined despite increased occupancy.
“The CTO is establishing a basis for mutual cooperation with Airbnb,” Riley said. “We believe that by clearly understanding Airbnb’s massive influence in capturing consumers’ interest in unique accommodations we will be in a position to properly advise our members and to allow the Caribbean to achieve the goals of year-round profitability, visitor satisfaction and sustainable tourism development.”
"We look forward to working with the CTO to develop policy recommendations for regional governments and other stakeholders on the sharing economy,” said Sullivan. “The Caribbean is an important and growing market for Airbnb and we expect continued growth there.”