The entanglement of the Dominican tourism sector with Airbnb
Santo Domingo.- The Dominican tourism sector, encompassing both public and private entities, finds itself grappling with the formidable competitor that is Airbnb. This challenge has been causing significant concerns for some time, leaving the Ministry of Tourism, tourist associations, and industry groups in a complex dilemma.
Mitigating the dominance of the rental giant Airbnb is a daunting task, and it appears that only a court ruling, akin to the one in New York favoring the City Council, might offer a solution to this intricate problem where various institutions and certain tourist groups play active roles.
The situation presents a paradox as some of the tourism groups advocating against Airbnb are simultaneously selling plane tickets to travelers through the Airbnb platform. This juxtaposition seems surreal: these groups are promoting travel and facilitating transportation for tourists who opt not to stay in their own hotels, whether these tourists hail from the United States, Canada, Spain, or other regions.
Adding to the surreal nature of the matter is the fact that institutions claiming to combat Airbnb’s privilege are providing financial subsidies to airlines that bring unregulated tourists to the Dominican Republic, irrespective of whether they booked through Airbnb or similar platforms. Resolving this considerable contradiction will require finding a viable solution.
Airbnb tourists and others like them are undeniably valuable to the country, even if their spending power is comparatively modest. The Ministry and hoteliers do not reject them; rather, they seek a level playing field where everyone adheres to the same rules and tax obligations. In essence, regularization is the key to fostering fair competition within the industry.