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Central Bank: Airbnb bookings up 51.3 percent

According to The Central Bank of The Bahamas’ (CBOB) Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) report for May 2018, during the month of May Airbnb bookings were up 51.3 percent year on year.

According to the MEFD report, those bookings had the most significant impact in the four largest markets of Exuma, Abaco, New Providence and Grand Bahama. Those markets increased by 68.3 percent, 47.6 percent, 47.4 percent and 42.9 percent, respectively, year over year.

These increases in Airbnb bookings are in line with the increase in air arrivals to The Bahamas.

The Ministry of Tourism recently revealed that people who have vacation home rentals will see value-added tax (VAT) appear on their bills as part of their commitments as purveyors of a tourism service.

The government has touted the marked improvement in the tourism sector, with record numbers of visitors coming to these shores, resulting from growth in the U.S. economy.

“Provisional indicators of stopover activity suggest that the increase in air arrivals translated into higher occupancy levels in the private vacation rental market,” the report notes.

“Preliminary tourism sector indicators suggest that the sector continued to exhibit signs of strengthening during the review period. In particular, data from the Nassau Airport Development Company Ltd. (NAD) showed that total visitor departures — net of domestic departures — grew by 15.3 percent in May, a reversal from a 2.4 percent decline a year earlier.

“This was supported by gains in both the U.S. and non-U.S. components, by 15.9 percent and 11.8 percent, compared to declines of 2.6 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively, in the prior year. Similar trends were noted over the five-month period, as total visitor traffic advanced by 12.7 percent, vis-à-vis a 3.4 percent contraction a year earlier. This corresponded to a 12.2 percent increase in the U.S. segment, reversing 2017’s 4.1 percent reduction and May’s accelerated gains in the non-U.S. segment of 15.6 percent, from 0.8 percent in 2017.”

The MEFD report also notes that the country’s average daily room rate (ADR) firmed by 7.7 percent to $338.40 for entire homes on the vacation home rental market and by 8.0 percent to $146.57 per night for hotel comparable listings, over the prior year.

According to the MEFD report, this data was gleaned from AirDNA, an analytics company that collects and compiles data from Airbnb listings.

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