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Housing Minister Denis Kellman

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday May 19, 2017 – Businessman and Housing Minister Denis Kellman is warning his own Government not to ignore the importance of the increasingly lucrative online marketplace, Airbnb, to the Barbados economy.

He said a disservice was being done to the economy by not measuring the contribution the homestay programme was making to gross domestic product.

About 1,100 Barbadian homeowners have listed their properties on Airbnb, each earning an average of US$3,900 a year.

Two per cent of long-stay visitors to the island – about 16,000 people – stayed in Airbnb listed properties last year, a company official said recently.

Kellman sees the online community marketplace as an avenue through which ordinary Barbadians can contribute to the tourism sector, in very much the same way they helped grow the sugar industry.

“We should feel proud in the same way the small farmers can make a contribution to the sugar industry when sugar was king, that today we have been able to empower the masses in Barbados to make a contribution to the tourism industry by allowing them to get involved in expansion of the tourism product,” he said.

“…Community tourism in Barbados cannot be ignored anymore.”

Just last week, local Airbnb hosts launched the Barbados Entrepreneurship & Tourism Association to advocate on their behalf.

Founder of the organization, Neeraj Vensimal said it was important for them to have a voice so they could make an input into pending legislation and other developments relating to the tourism sector. (Adapted from Barbados Today)

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