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ATA meets VRBO and AirBNB executives in New York

ATA meets VRBO and AirBNB executives in New York

Aruba Tourism Authority culminated a successful visit to New York this week where the focus was one vacation rentals/short term rental.

Ronelle Croes, CEO of ATA and Dyane Vis-Escalona, business manager for ATA met up with Tim Rosolio who is the Vice President of Vacation Rental Partner Success at Expedia group (where the VRBO platform resides) and Carlos Munoz of Airbnb who is in charge of “Public Policy” for the Central America and Caribbean territories. Carlos was accompanied by Liliana Herrera who is the “Head of Transparency and Personal Data Protection”. Both platforms are very popular and prominent when it comes to alternative accommodations.

The agenda for both meetings focused on the topic of tax collections, basically how to work together to make sure that this is charged and that all accommodations pay the room tax per night. They will work together on this manner by making more use of the current understanding on practices “regulatory framework” which functions in other countries/cities and of course also remaining aware of what is important to Aruba. Aruba is in the process of analysis present pa various branches including the Ministery of Economics, VRPA, AHATA and ATA.

It has already been a few years that ATA started making an effort for better inclusion. In 2016, they signed the first MOU between ATA and Airbnb. In 2019 the second MOU was signed between ATA and Airbnb, renewing the agreement. The minister of finances and tourism also signed this agreement. They spoke to Airbnb directly to discuss the best practices and what can be done for Aruba. along with the Minister of Tourism, who created a platform consisting of the Minestry, ATA, DIMP, CBA, AHATA, VRPA, and DIP, will handle the proposed proposition. As indicated before, we hope that now we can finalize this platform. Airbnb presented different concrete models of how to further assist Aruba in collecting necessary taxes.

With VRBO, this was more of an initial meeting in order to further work in the same direction and reach an agreement with VRBO as well.

The meeting also focused on the collaboration to share information and statistics, but also to present the new sector of “vacation/short term rentals” and ensure the highest quality.

Besides these meetings, Aruba also took part in the conference of Short Term Rentals presented by Skift, which included 24 speakers including Rafat Ali; CEO/Founder of Skift, executives of Homes and Villas of Marriott Bonvoy and booking.com another popular platform.

In Aruba the number of short term rental properties in a month grew from 3836 in 2019 to 5971 in 2020. In 2022, 25% of visitors stayed in the alternative accommodation category and between January and April 2023 this number grew to 29%.

In general, you could say that after the conference just like the hotel sector, the vacation rental sector will also become a new normal standard especially after the strong growth in volume and average rates.

ATA promises to continue collaborating and sharing new information with all parties involved in order to maximize the potential of this new sector. It’s a fact that there is a lot of interest in this sector of hospitality and ATA is determined to continue promoting vacation rentals in the interested markets, for example in the Dutch market which has a preference for these types of lodging. The goal is to stimulate sustainable growth in the tourism industry and offer visitor a well-balanced variety of options when it comes to lodging which meet their standards.

For ATA it is extremely important that the development is one that is mindful that we live on an island. Therefore ATA will continue to be at the table for this growth in the new industry and to maintain aspects such as island capacity, zoning laws et cetera.

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