Airbnb strengthens Antigua relationship
Airbnb’s growth strategy in the region is being spearheaded with a public policy agenda that will see the platform potentially incorporate tax payments making it easier for hosts to pay taxes, and for governments to collect them.
Airbnb’s Shawn Sullivan who is the Public Policy Lead for Central America and the Caribbean, was in Antigua this week with a mandate to help drive diversified and sustainable tourism to the islands, and begin dialogue about a framework for taxation on accommodation. An agreement outlining these shared goals was signed by the government and Mr Sullivan.
Airbnb says they aim to drive cooperation within local communities, and between hosts and governments. There are over 500 active listings on the Airbnb platform in Antigua and a typical host currently has annual earnings of about US$5,700. The number of guest arrivals to the islands staying in Airbnb accommodation in the last 12 months has grown by 53 per cent, and groups tend to stay about six nights according to Airbnb’s own statistics.
The global growth of the home-sharing giant valued at over $25 billion continues to impress, painting an interesting picture of the Silicon Valley unicorn’s expansion: it’s become much less about the U.S. market. The United States makes up just 16 percent of Airbnb’s listings globally, with just two of the top 10 markets — New York City and Los Angeles. Airbnb’s expansion into Europe and Asia has been nothing short of extraordinary, and Central America and the Caribbean are poised for a similar major expansion by the platform right now.
Foreign markets offer more opportunity for organic growth because penetration is lower and internet adoption is rising but disruption at this scale comes with equally large challenges. Airbnb continues in hypergrowth mode, while at the same time drawing intense scrutiny from regulators and opposition from incumbents, but for Antigua & Barbuda at least, the platform offers another growth channel for the island’s largest industry and we believe it won’t be at the expense of the hotels as has been feared by some hoteliers internationally. Check out Airbnb Antigua & Barbuda here.