Airbnb is an online marketplace and hospitality service that is ‘the easiest way for people to monetise their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.’
The company’s recent press release ‘Caribbean Vacation Markets set trend for collaboration, tax collection with Airbnb’ outlines over 10 collaboration agreements with governments in the region — including Grenada — and lodging tax collection deals.
The release states that “More and more countries with tourism-intensive economies are choosing to embrace innovation and pave the way to diversify the sector and spread the benefits of democratised tourism revenue within their societies.” The agreements help ‘by strengthening support for home sharing and allowing Airbnb to help users fulfil their local lodging tax obligations,’ important in a region (Caribbean and Yucatán Peninsula) where Airbnb hosts have earned over US$266 million in 2017.
In June, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Airbnb and Grenada, to ‘help diversify and attract new visitors to the tri-island destination of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.’ The release states that ‘according to the Government of Grenada, this strategic alliance will help keep the country competitive in the modern and quickly evolving travel industry.’
Minister of Tourism Dr Clarice Modeste-Curwen said that “Solidifying a strategic alliance with a global entity like Airbnb demonstrates our commitment to strengthening Grenada’s tourism sector by tapping into new segments of the industry and providing Grenadians with opportunities that stimulate our island’s economic growth.”
On 16 June, shortly after the MOU was signed, Now Grenada spoke with Jerry Rappaport, President of the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA). Rappaport said the MOU was ‘a progressive move’ and that ‘at the end of the day, the GHTA sees this as good…where all accommodation for tourists and businesspersons would be held to a GHTA standard, and the government would get its taxes to do what it has to do.’
Grenada’s tourism sector has more than 400 active listings across the island, with typical Airbnb host annual earnings of US $2,200.