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Local and federal governments in Quintana Roo urged to better regulate Airbnb hosts in the state after it came to public attention that many hosts are offering tours and additional activities in addition to providing accommodations .
Airbnb plays a big role in Quintana Roo’s tourism industry, with the state’s popularity emerging from the shadows of Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
Accusations against Airbnb hosts
The bulk of accusations against Airbnb hosts in the state come 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 tours and activities industry in Quintana Roo is heavily regulated, with insurance and properly trained staff/guides required.
The Quintana Roo tours and activities industry argument comes from a tourist safety angle, and while they may be trying to stop a new wave of competition, the arguments that they argue are far from trivial.
Is it really that serious?
It’s easy to equate these concerns with a fear of competition, but unfortunately, Quintana Roo has already seen the lives of tourists threatened by this clandestine practice.
In one incident, a group of travelers rented a small boat directly from their Airbnb hosts, and then found themselves almost shipwrecked at sea.
Luckily, they were close enough to shore to be spotted, and a group of locals sprang into action and quickly rescued them from what could have been a life-threatening situation.
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A business owner of a professional reef diving company in the state said this incident could have been easily avoided if travelers had received the proper instructions and safety equipment.
But even for experienced boat captains, being in uncharted waters without the correct charts that register sandbars and other hazards is a roll of the dice.
But when you add inexperienced sailors to the mix, the risk of a serious situation developing increases massively. The sea is not to be taken lightly and can go from flat and mirror-like to huge waves in just a few minutes.
Airbnb against the state
Airbnb hasn’t had the smoothest navigation in Quintana Roo, especially when it comes to its reputation with locals.
While resorts and hotels provide extremely important jobs for locals, Airbnb is considered a money-spinner for the local economy. Many Airbnb properties in states are owned by foreigners or Mexicans from other states.
Therefore, one gets the feeling that they add very little to the prosperity of the state.
The strange legal status enjoyed by Airbnb is also a sore point for many, with the lack of regulation seen as a danger to Quintana Roo’s much-loved foreign tourist population.
For example, it was recently announced that Airbnb would be limited by which neighborhoods and cities they can advertise properties for rent.
This is because many areas of the state are not considered safe for tourists due to organized crime.
On top of that, Airbnb has been accused of not being included in many tax regimes that resorts and hotels must adhere to.
Although there is currently some movement on this, with the taxes expected to be applied soon, the many years Airbnb has operated here without paying them has left a sour taste in many people’s mouths.
But, even without all the previous points, there is a huge problem that Airbnb has brought to the people of Quintana Roo.
Since Airbnb began operating here, many tourist areas of the state have seen home rental prices increase by 80%, with Cancun and Playa del Carmen being the hardest hit by this economic rebalancing due to the presence from Airbnb.
Why do people care
The local population, the government and the tourism industry in Quintana Roo are very aware of the importance of tourists for the future of the state.
And this awareness means that the State is always quick to act in matters of tourist security. This proactivity has led to huge efforts for state security and improved vacation offerings, which means this quick move to crush a new hazard for tourists comes as no surprise.
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