The local and federal governments in Quintana Roo are being urged to better regulate Airbnb hosts in the state after it was brought to the attention of the public that many hosts are offering additional tours and activities on top of providing accommodation.
Airbnb plays a big role in the tourism industry of Quintana Roo, with the popularity of the state moving out of the shadow of Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
The Accusations Against Airbnb Hosts
The bulk of the accusations being leveled at Airbnb hosts in the state are coming from established tour and activity operators.
With a growing number of Airbnb hosts offering private tours and activities, concerns are growing about their safety.
The tour and activity industry in Quintana Roo is heavily regulated, with insurance and adequately trained staff/guides required.
The argument from Quintana Roo’s tour and activities industry is coming from the angle of tourist safety, and while it’s possible they are trying to stop a new wave of competition, the points they’re making are far from trivial.
Is This Really That Serious?
It’s easy to write these concerns off as a fear of competition, but unfortunately, Quintana Roo has already seen tourists’ lives threatened by this underground practice.
In one incident, a group of travelers rented a small boat directly from their Airbnb hosts, and they then found themselves almost shipwrecked at sea.
Thankfully, they were close enough to the coast to be spotted, and a group of locals jumped into action and swiftly rescued them from what could have been a deadly situation.
A business owner from a professional reef diving business in the state claimed this incident would have been easily avoided had the travelers been given proper instruction and safety equipment.
But even for experienced boat captains, being in unfamiliar waters without the correct charts that register sandbanks and other hazards is a roll of the dice.
But when you add inexperienced sailors to the mix, the chance of a serious situation developing grows massively. The sea isn’t to be taken lightly and can go from flat and mirror-like to having huge swells in just a matter of minutes.
Airbnb v The State
Airbnb hasn’t had the smoothest sailing in Quintana Roo, especially when it comes to its reputation amongst locals.
While the resorts and hotels provide hugely important jobs for the local people, Airbnb is seen as a cash suck for the local economy. Many of the states’ Airbnb properties are foreign-owned or owned by Mexicans from other states.
Therefore, there’s a feeling that they add very little to the prosperity of the state.
The strange legal status Airbnb enjoys is also a sore point for many, with the lack of regulation being seen as a danger to Quintana Roo’s highly valued foreign tourist population.
For example, it was recently announced that Airbnb would be restricted by which neighborhoods and towns they can advertise properties for rent.
This is due to many areas in the state not being deemed safe for tourists due to organized crime.
On top of this, Airbnb has been accused of not being included in many tax schemes resorts and hotels must adhere to.
Although there is currently movement on this, with the taxes expected to be applied soon, the many years Airbnb has operated here without paying these has left a sour taste in many people’s mouths.
But, even without all of the previous points, there is one huge problem Airbnb has brought for the local people of Quintana Roo.
Since Airbnb began operating here, many of the state’s tourist areas have seen home rental prices increase by an unbelievable 80%, with Cancun and Playa del Carmen being hit hardest by this economic rebalance from Airbnb’s presence.
Why People Care
The local people, government, and tourism industry of Quintana Roo are very aware of how important tourists are to the future of the state.
And this awareness means that the state is always quick to act where issues of tourist safety are concerned. This proactiveness has led to huge strives in the safety of the state and the improvement of vacation offerings, meaning this quick move to squash a new danger for tourists isn’t a surprise.
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