Airbnb pact with CTO reflects growing Caribbean influence

From left: Airbnb’s Shawn Sullivan and CTO’s Hugh Riley sign landmark agreement.

BRIDGETOWN — The Caribbean Tourism Organization says it hopes a new deal with Airbnb will diversify its tourism industry, expand economic opportunities for the Caribbean people and promote Caribbean tourism and highlight Caribbean history and culture.

Both the CTO and Airbnb have pledged to share data and studies with policymakers about the positive impact of the sharing economy in the region; identify ways to make it more inclusive; and broaden the benefits of tourism to non-traditional actors, attract new stakeholders and focus on providing “amazing and unique travel and cultural experiences to visitors”.

The CTO will be able to review Airbnb’s aggregate data and will brief key stakeholders on the value of a peer-to-peer review mechanisms.

“The CTO is establishing a basis for mutual cooperation with Airbnb. It is important for us to examine all aspects of this important segment of the sharing economy,” said CTO secretary general and chief executive officer Hugh Riley. “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.”

Currently, there are 41,000 listings across the Caribbean and a typical host in the Caribbean earns approximately US$3,900 per year. Riley says the agreement will also help to identify new ways to market the Caribbean as a region: One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean and grow the tourism industry.
“This is an exciting partnership for Airbnb. We look forward to working with the CTO to develop policy recommendations for regional governments and other stakeholders on the sharing economy. The Caribbean is an important and growing market for Airbnb and we expect continued growth there,” said Airbnb’s Shawn Sullivan, public policy director for Central America the Caribbean.