NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The Bahamas has seen a 40 percent increase in vacation home rentals since signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbnb back in 2017.
Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu made the revelation at a press conference to announce the launch the Bahamas Sabbatical experience yesterday.
Jibrilu said: “Just over two years ago, on August 9, 2017, The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation solidified its partnership with Airbnb, through a signing of a memorandum of understanding to legitimize vacation rentals in The Bahamas.
“Since the signing of that MOU, we have witnessed an increase in excess of 40 per cent in vacation home rentals in our destination. By all measures, the Ministry’s two year partnership with Airbnb can be deemed a resounding success.”
Jibrilu said the vacation home rental segment has allowed more Bahamians to be involved in the tourism sector.
“I think for all of us the idea is to see more Bahamians become involved in the tourism sector, not just looking from the outside in but being a participant and the benefits that arise from that,” she said.
“This provides Bahamians a way to get in. We have seen Bahamians involved with Airbnb very successfully. We have seen phenomenal growth with Airbnb in The Bahamas. Bahamians generally are loving it.”
Jibrilu noted that through the Airbnb platform, taxes are also levied which levels the playing field with the hotel sector.
“Now that that has come to fruition, Airbnb has been submitting payment of taxes which do not impact Bahamians,” she said.
“That’s a cost on the the guest’s bill. If you charge $100 you still get $100. I think that has appeased many hoteliers and the fact that they have seen an increase in their business in 2019 and not a decrease speaks to the fact that we need every room we can get.”
In the 2019/2020 budget the government required online marketplaces that advertise and facilitate vacation rentals in The Bahamas will now be required to pay VAT on their rental and related sales in The Bahamas.
Thus, companies such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and all such marketplaces with short-term rentals in The Bahamas will be required to pay VAT.