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Hotel union boss says increased vacation home rentals bad for hotels

Darrin Woods.

Although he is happy there has been an uptick in stopover visitors to The Bahamas this year, President of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) Darrin Woods said he’s concerned about the increase in tourists choosing vacation homes over hotels and resorts.

“Definitely, because what that does now is that moves them away from actually staying in hotel beds as we would like to see them,” Woods told Guardian Business in a recent interview.

“Persons are renting through Airbnb and we’re trying actually get the numbers up in the stopover visitors category, but we’re trying to actually get them in the hotels as opposed to guest houses.”

Vacation home rentals in The Bahamas have become increasingly popular, according to industry experts and statistics recorded by The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB).

According to the Central Bank’s Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) report for June, the number of vacation home rental bookings for that month increased by 37.3 percent year-on-year.

Woods said given the shift in how visitors are choosing to vacation in The Bahamas, now is a good time to analyze the traditional hotel model that The Bahamas has clung to for generations.

“I mean we have to understand the market and that everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie,” he said.

“But we’ve been in this business for so long now that maybe we have to look at how we’ve been doing business and what we need to do to improve our product as best as we can.”

Earlier this week Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said stopover visitor numbers were up 15 percent for the first five months of the year and he attributed the increase in part to the ministry’s narrowing in and capitalizing on those platforms tourists use to book their vacations.

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