The Minister of Tourism for the Dominican Republic has announced that the nation is to regulate Airbnb. This is welcome news for tourists, with regulations expected to improve health, safety, and quality standards.
Airbnb has become a popular choice for tourists in the Dominican Republic, the huge number of options ranging from single-bed studios to 10-bedroom luxury villas with private pools, means the platform caters to every budget.
The Problem With Unregulated Airbnb
Airbnb being unregulated may seem unimportant at first since it has been operating in the Dominican Republic for many years. But there are good reasons why this is an issue, the biggest one being health and safety.
The Dominican Republic takes many positive steps to ensure that visitors to this beautiful country have a safe and enjoyable trip, including enforcing health and safety standards in tourist accommodation, and guaranteeing essentials such as electrical and gas services to properties are up to code. Building practices can be a serious issue in the Dominican Republic, with several unexpected building collapses in the last months alone.
Another safety aspect, which is one of the biggest concerns for the Ministry of Tourism, is the protection of tourists from crime. Tourist areas in the Dominican Republic are very safe for visitors, but this isn’t the case for the whole country, crime is an issue here, and there are checks and security standards followed by the tourism industry to shield visitors from the worst of it.
It is expected that the regulation of Airbnb will help to bring this security to even more visitors. An important aspect of this is knowing where tourists are staying. If the government knows this, they can increase Politur (Tourism Police) patrols and presence in those areas if need be and also give more accurate safety advice for tourists who may be staying in areas that require extra precaution.
Why Regulation Is A Good Thing For Tourists
The regulation of Airbnb is the latest sign of how seriously the Dominican Republic is taking the health, well-being, and safety of tourists. These regulations will help to bring the vacation rental market up to the same standards as hotels and resorts. For visitors that were unsure of using Airbnb in the nation before, this could open up additional accommodation options.
Impact Of Regulation On Prices
Currently, visitors can find accommodation for as little as $15 per night through Airbnb, but this might soon be a thing of the past. In other destinations around the world, the regulation of Airbnb can signal an increase in prices as hosts pass on new taxes to guests. This may make Airbnb a less attractive option as the cost gets closer to that of hotels and resorts, which offer amenities such as pools, restaurants, and on-site security, as well as accommodation.
The tourism industry is like an ecosystem, and if a large percentage of the accommodation sector, such as Airbnb (28.5% in 2021), raises its prices, it could lead to a number of outcomes. The first possibility is resorts and hotels increase their prices; they may see the rise in Airbnb prices as an opportunity to increase their own as budget options become more expensive.
Alternatively, the hotels and resorts may see this as a chance to win over customers who normally prefer booking Airbnb rentals, lowering their prices to compete with the increase in Airbnb rates. This would be a great outcome for tourists, as the competition between Airbnb and the hotels/resorts could mean more bang for your buck when booking accommodation.
It’s too early to say for certain what the regulation of Airbnb will mean for tourists visiting the Dominican Republic. The growth of private vacation rentals doesn’t show signs of slowing, and regulation of Airbnb is expected to be positive for both tourists and the tourism industry. It will hopefully promote fair competition and give tourists enhanced protection for their health and safety while visiting this beautiful destination.
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