Representatives from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) along with representatives from eight member countries met with officials from homestay provider Airbnb to discuss Airbnb’s growing presence in the region and to address areas of mutual cooperation as outlined in an agreement signed in February.
Travel Weekly quotes the CTO as saying that the shared economy is driven by consumers who decide with their pocketbooks what they want to do and where they want to stay in the Caribbean.
“It is our responsibility to speak with Airbnb and other players in the sector to get the maximum benefit from this phenomenon,” said CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley.
Discussions covered safety and security, standards, policies, the importance of the region’s cultural heritage, and how Airbnb is expanding economic opportunities in the region, said Riley.
Airbnb and CTO will share aggregate data and research, explore ways to make the sharing economy more inclusive and develop a set of policy principles and recommendations.
“Those are factors that we were able to cover and we are extremely happy for the level of interaction between our members and Airbnb,” Riley said.
Currently there are 41,000 Airbnb listings across the Caribbean and a typical host in the Caribbean earns approximately US$3,900 a year.
“We view this as a first step in building a lasting partnership that will democratize travel, create thousands of entrepreneurs and allow a greater segment of the Caribbean to truly benefit from tourism,” said Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb’s public policy director for Central America and the Caribbean.
Earlier this year Anguilla, Bermuda, Curacao and Jamaica each signed partnership agreements with Airbnb that outlined similar goals.