Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON – Airbnb and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will see both organisations collaborating to drive sustainable tourism in Belize through home-sharing.

The agreement, which seeks to promote Belize as a world-class tourist destination, will, among other things, create a modern and simple regulatory framework for short-term rentals in order to grow and diversify the country’s tourism product in keeping with global demand through shared best practices.

“The Belize Tourism Board is excited about this new cooperation agreement with Airbnb, and in working together to develop an equitable and sustainable business environment for this important segment of the tourism offer in Belize,” commented Evan Tillett, BTB director of tourism.

“With new engaging features on its platform, Airbnb is not only about room stock generation, it is also moving towards the creation of authentic destination experiences, an area where Belize thrives and seeks to engage,” he added.

The home-sharing community in Belize, which has seen substantial growth within the last few years, is an important component of its tourism industry and is also deemed a critical asset in wealth generation. According to World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) data, which showed tourism accounting for some 45 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Belize last year along with 40 per cent of total employment and 42 per cent of total exports, this latest initiative is expected to significantly jumpstart the country’s recovery following fallouts from the novel coronavirus pandemic. The partnership will also empower locals and their communities to be the primary beneficiaries of this economic growth.

“Belize is an important destination for Airbnb, and we are pleased to continue working together with the BTB to develop a strong, democratised tourism industry through home-sharing, in which Belizeans can benefit directly,” stated Carlos Munoz, Airbnb campaign manager in charge of public policy and communications for the Caribbean and Central America.

Airbnb, which has been working with the region through a number of other initiatives, aims to not only drive the tourism product through the short-term rental vacation market but to also expand economic opportunities whilst promoting safe authentic travel experiences. The entity previously engaged in a similar agreement with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

Top Feature Photo: An aerial shot of gorgeous Tobacco Caye in Belize