Why Airbnb’s Partnership with Aruba Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

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The Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) and Airbnb, Inc. have signed an agreement that will aim to position Aruba as a regional leader in the sharing economy and help to promote more tourism to the island. 

And Travel Agent thinks this is just the beginning of Airbnb’s partnerships in the Caribbean

Back in June, during Caribbean Week in New York City, Travel Agent sat down with members of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), who expressed a strong desire for regulation within Airbnb. 

Frank Comito, chief executive officer and director general of the CHTA, told us then that the CHTA met with top Airbnb executives and discussed the need for regulations for Caribbean Airbnb properties. 

Karolin G. Troubetzkoy, president of the CHTA, told Travel Agent that Airbnb was very receptive and actually noted that the CHTA was more willing to compromise with Airbnb than other organizations have been.

Matt Cooper, chief marketing officer for the CHTA, expressed the need for Airbnb to offer full transparency. After all, if the CHTA is unaware how many Airbnb stays are being booked or how many are being offered in the Caribbean, then they cannot predict how much airlift the region will need to accommodate visitors, Cooper contends. 

Troubetzkoy also noted that each Airbnb property needs to report if there are any mechanical issues, whether it will offer food, and all safety issues and concerns, such as weather and if the height of the balcony meets some hotel safety requirements. 

Comito said each of the CHTA's 32 member destinations are currently compiling a wish list of sorts that they would like Airbnb to comply with. 

And it looks like Airbnb complied with Aruba’s wish list.

The partnership will create a framework to allow the Aruba Tourism Authority and Airbnb to address the issue of taxes, host accommodation standards and regulations and ensure that it is in line with Aruba’s tourism policy, according to an Aruba Tourism Authority news release.

“Aruba embraces the shared economy and is eager to formalize the first partnership in our region with Airbnb," said Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of the ATA, in a written statement. “Together as industry leaders, we will add value to authentic travel experiences while ensuring this on-island development is managed successfully.”

Airbnb’s presence within the island’s tourism industry is rapidly growing. In the past year, Airbnb hosts in Aruba received 13,000 guests from around the world. Hosts in Aruba typically earn $4,400 a year, affording expanded economic opportunities. 

Currently, there are 1,360 Airbnb listings across the island, welcoming a broad range of travelers to the country.

Visit www.aruba.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates on this story. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike.