Tourists in the Dominican Republic are increasingly opting for private short-term rentals such as those offered by Airbnb rather than resort-style hotels. While the shift started gradually during the COVID pandemic, it has become more apparent over the past few months. Some parts of the country, especially Punta Cana and the capital Santo Domingo have seen these types of bookings skyrocket as visitors seek more private and flexible accommodation arrangements.
According to data from the Dominican Central Bank, nearly one in every three tourists stayed at a private residence between January and February this year. This represents an increase of close to 10% when compared to the same period last year. With demand on the rise, many property owners are putting up their homes for short-term rental websites like Airbnb. Private housing first became a popular choice in the Dominican Republic during the COVID pandemic, offering guests a safe stay away from crowds.
Even after the pandemic, this type of accommodation is proving popular, but for other reasons. Flexibility and privacy are often cited as the biggest advantage. After the pandemic, many travelers find the comfort and safety of a private apartment optimal, as opposed to crowded resorts. Private apartments can also be rented from more remote locations than most hotels. Moreover, many tourists enjoy greater control over their stay.
For others, having their own private apartment offers tourists a chance to live like a local. From the decor to the location, often in residential districts, tourists can get a glimpse of the Dominican lifestyle, which can be hard to find at beachside resorts.
While bringing many advantages compared to resort hotels, private rentals come with a few downsides. First, many are rented through the black market, meaning they’re not regulated by the state. Some private residences may also face security issues and lack the safety features that typically come with hotels. Lastly, private housing lacks the amenities that come with a stylish resort hotels, including daily cleaning, room service, and access to beachside facilities.
Although a popular option, authorities are concerned over the lack of proper legal regulation. As the number of private housing options grows, the country’s tourism minister recently announced new measures to ensure that landlords provide guests the same benefits as hotels. The goal is to protect tourists from scams, and ensure that homeowners pay their fair share of tax.
Homestays have become a trendy business option in many parts of the Dominican Republic as international travel continues to pick up. In the capital Santo Domingo, up to 65% of all accommodation is short-term, many of it aimed at attracting tourists. This has also led to conflicts between neighbors, who want to avoid loud tourists.
Even so, the trend is expected to continue, as the number of private apartments being rented out on digital platforms grows. Currently, the ministry of tourism estimates that there are around 53,000 available private rooms for rent, whereas a total of 83,000 hotel rooms are available around the country.
Up To 70% Of All New Hotel Rooms To Be Built In Punta Cana
The Dominican Republic is experiencing a hotel construction boom thanks to thriving international travel. The country’s tourism minister David Collado has said that the goal is to build up to 25,000 new hotel rooms. As a result of unprecedented travel demand, there is a need to accommodate the growing number of tourists on the sunny island.
Punta Cana, the island’s most popular tourist destination, contains up to 70% of new hotel rooms currently under construction. Aside from large hotel chains, private investors are also choosing to build homes in the area, which tourists can rent.
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