Tourism September 25, 2023 | 10:06 am

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.

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ala
September 25, 2023 11:02 am

First of all, writing about hotels striving for equal treatment is a joke. Hotel lobbies illegally taking over beaches, making access to them difficult despite applicable law. Hotels setting exorbitant fees for external workers – DJs, make-up artists, photographers, videographers, dancers. The law is being bent to hotels and the local market is being destroyed. First, let them start treating everyone equally and only then write about equal treatment.
Secondly – AirBnb is not a threat to tourists, just a great alternative to live outside the hotel ghetto.
Thirdly, and most importantly – tourists using Airbnb are not modest purchasing power – they are people who provide work for the local community, use local shops, restaurants, tourist attractions, and are not kept in hotels where they are told that the Dominican Republic is dangerous and it is better not to go outside the hotel area.
To sum up – the only industry that loses from airbnb is the intemperate hotel industry that wants to monopolize tourism. Every other industry benefits from people using airbnb – from the owners, through the government (taxes), to the local community (restaurants, bars, tours). Unfortunately, the government is corrupted by the hotel lobby and will probably bow to hotel pressure.

bernie sierra
September 25, 2023 5:07 pm
Reply to  ala

Way too many owners of places are lowering their prices to compete for the clients and even AIRBNB encourages them to lower their prices. So that affects the investment of some people that buys units to rent at certain rates per night when the owners of units being advertise on AIRBNB are 35% cheaper.

Paul Tierney
September 25, 2023 11:37 am

The hotels and resorts want a monopoly on the accommodations of tourists. If there was a level playing field, then the Airbnb’s should receive the same tax and operation relief as the hotels and resorts. However, they do not at this time.

It is not an uncharted happening, hotels and resorts will purchase private residences and repurpose them for high end tourist accommodation. Because these former private residences are under the hotel and resort umbrella, they get the same tax, operation, and service benefits of the hotels and resorts.

The Airbnb’s offer an ambiance that some tourists crave, part of the reason for this wish is they do not want to be holding to the hotel and resort inflexible behaviors, a want to do things their way.

Fundador
September 25, 2023 11:46 pm

All units need to be registered first …
They should pay taxes on rental income. …
Country can use more tax revenue ….

Last edited 8 months ago by Fundador