November 10, 2016

Airbnb and the Aruba Tourism Authority signed an agreement on Nov. 7, and the sides are calling it the first partnership between Airbnb and a Caribbean country, according to Travel Weekly, M&C's sister publication.

The deal "creates 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 a statement.

"Aruba's continued tourism growth relies on having a healthy balance of on-island accommodations, ensuring that we meet consumer expectations and demands, and making sure the benefits of the sharing economy are beneficial for the industry, community and island as a whole," said Rosella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of the tourism authority. "We embrace the concept of a sharing economy. Our goal is to work together to drive more sustainable and unique tourism to the island, help make Aruba a leader in the sharing economy and continue to position Aruba as a world-class tourist destination."

In the past year, Airbnb hosts in Aruba welcomed 13,000 international guests. Hosts in Aruba earned on average $4,400 a year, according to Airbnb.

Currently, there are 1,360 Airbnb listings across the island with 15 percent of the listings in private homes.

"We will work closely with the Aruba Tourism Authority to broaden the island's appeal to the millions of Airbnb users who are interested in unique travel experiences," said Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb's public policy lead for Central America and the Caribbean. "This collaboration will give those visiting Aruba more traveling options while promoting sustainable tourism as part of the local economy."

Recently, the Aruban government capped the island's all-inclusive accommodations at 40 percent of the total hotel room count on the island. Currently all-inclusive resorts make up 34 percent of Aruba's 5,543 transient rooms while 66 percent are European Plan (EP) hotels that do not include food and beverage in room rates.

"The goal is to remain competitive and create balance. A healthy mix of on-island accommodations is crucial to the success of Aruba," Asjoe-Croes said.