Airbnb to boost CaymanKind

| 26/03/2018 | 60 Comments

Airbnb(CNS): Cayman Islands Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell has said that a deal with the international online home-sharing accommodation platform, Airbnb, will boost the concept of CaymanKind and help more Caymanians benefit from the growing tourism product, while ensuring local rentors are following the law. Many property owners are using Airbnb to advertise condos and rooms in private homes, which Kirkconnell said brings the tourism product back to its historic roots of Caymanians renting directly to visitors.

Although there have been some reports of rentors not registering with the Department of Tourism, following the rules or paying property tax, the minister said that this was not common and the tourism tax take was up as room inventory increases and air arrivals grow.

He said that as part of the deal Airbnb will require rentors using the site to have a local hotel licence and it will direct them to the rules they need to follow. But the site will also share data with the DoT and promote the Cayman Islands.

Kirkconnell said there was a growing number of guest houses and smaller rentors among the more than 6,200 beds in the local inventory, as Airbnb helps fuel the tourism market here. He said it was also providing a way to allow small entrepreneurs and home owners to take advantage of the increase in visitors to Cayman.

A memorandum of understanding was signed last week at a press conference (to which CNS was not invited, so we were unable to ask questions), where Tourism Director Rosa Harris and Carloz Munoz, Airbnb’s policy manager for the region, signed the deal.

Munoz said the MOU would help bring in even more guests to Cayman through the platform. Noting that the site already has around 470 Cayman Islands listings, through which more than 8,600 people have come to stay in Cayman over the last year, he also said that around 5,800 Caymanians have used Airbnb to find accommodation overseas and to take domestic breaks here.

The popularity of Airbnb is bound to help boost the current record-breaking tourism numbers, and while the platform continues to be extremely popular and successful, it has come in for some criticisms. The ease with which the platform allows property owners in very popular and expensive cities and destinations to turn spare rooms and small apartments into money-making enterprises also drives locals out of their towns. US cities such as New York and popular tourism destinations like Venice have seen rents pushed higher and higher as the long-term rental inventory shrinks.

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Comments (60)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Of all the bitching that Caynanians do, I have to believe you have a problem with this. You can’t even rent out a room in your house without the Government knowing AND taking a piece of the money pie. WOW!! Sounds communist to me

  2. Anonymous says:

    santa clause is coming to town!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised Dart hasn’t stepped in and paid for that idea to disappear given that he owns pretty much every other hotel.

  4. Rodney Barnett says:

    I can understand some younger people looking for cheap lodging being willing to stay in a private residence that will also afford them an opportunity to “meet” the locals. But I cannot envision a time where I would invite complete strangers to stay in my home overnight. In this world of terrorism and thievery I would not suggest it. Is ABnB responsible when I am robbed or worse by their customer?

    • Anon says:

      Am I the only person who feels like retching whenever I hear the corny marketing description of Caymanians as “Caymankind”?

      Who came up with that? Some American marketing company that has some patronizing view of the “natives”?

      • Anonymous says:

        Only after I read the comments on here and realize that its a myth. But then, Coca-Colas good for you, right?

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        The Airbnb principle works fine without the urban myth of “caymankind”.
        I have worked my place OK from another country for over a year without any problems or “caymanising” my product.

    • Anonymous says:

      Try looking up the airbnb website. Or have you only mastered the art of the CNS comments section so far? The website has a whole section on how it works. That may surprise you. Even things called FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions- yeah, I know, amazeballs, right?. I use airbnb in another country to rent out a property, not a room. Works well, as do other similar services.

      • Anonymous says:

        Aren’t you the clever one.

        • Anonymous says:

          Clearly smarter than the original poster…if people can write comments on here, they have access to the internet. Then they wonder why they get slayed on here for writing dumb comments, when they could find out the answers/information very quickly for themselves instead of writing crap…

  5. Anonymous says:

    airbnb is self-regulated everywhere else….why all the red-tape in cayman????

    • East End Resident says:

      Because the government wants to make sure they are getting their $10 a night from everyone offering a room. So everyone needs to get a hotel licence and pay their taxes. That’s why all the red tape.

    • East End Resident says:

      To make an addition to what I said, I believe the $10 a night applies to time share resorts as there is no ‘nightly room rate’ but the actual rate of tax that applies to hotels, B&B and AirBNB is 13% of the gross room charge per night. That’s a lot of tax the government would be missing out on if rooms were let by citizens who were not properly registered, charging and paying these taxes.

      I suspect that AirBNB will add the tax to the room rate, and collect it on behalf of the government, and maybe even submit it direct without it going into the hands of the person letting the room/property.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Uber is next!

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      it should be….but cig will never do this as it will upset the taxi cartel….
      welcome to wonderland

    • East End Resident says:

      OMG yes, we need it SO badly here. Please open up this cartel to the free market. It will make for better availability, cheaper prices, more pleasant and safer drivers and a better tourist experience. Maybe even less drink driving and deaths on our roads. I can only see the positive in making Uber available. Taxi drivers can join and compete if they like, nothing stopping them offering a fair service at a fair price like everyone else.

    • Anonymous says:

      People need to look into what Uber actually do.

      They come in strong, low prices, hiring everyone that signs up (their background checks are a joke!) and do whatever they can to take over the market.

      Then when local competition dries up they raise prices, but not the amount they pay drivers, leaving you back where you started but with the money leaving the island rather than going to the locals. There’s a reason that they’re been run out of Asia and several major European cities are on the verge of revoking their license.

      That’s not to mention their outright criminality with the likes of Greyball, surge pricing during terrorist incidents and accidents, toxic corporate culture, IP theft, the list goes on.

      Something needs to change with the local taxis, but not Uber.

      The best result would be an app that all the local operators sign up to, with fixed and obvious prices depending on distance, time of journey and time of day, linked to an in-car meter. Similar schemes already run in places like Oxford and are much better for both customers and the local economy than sharks like Uber and Lyft.

      • Anonymous says:

        im pretty sure uber wont’ charge you 25 dollars to go from the downtown postal office to the airport. Ya, normally 10. But because it was at 530am in the morning, guy told me it’s 25 cause its’ so early.

        • Anonymous says:

          Or 60 dollars each to go to lower valley as it is after midnight.
          Joke ….glad I left.

        • Anonymous says:

          Nah, they’d charge it 5:30pm and call it rush hour surge pricing.

        • Anonymous says:

          or if their car is full $300 for 8 people from the Ritz to Calypso grill, and theh threaten to boycott you because you complain?

      • Anonymous says:

        Best for you as the instigators of just such an app that is failing to get much take up….I wonder why that is? The current cartel does not need that app, the public does, and if CIG was really worried about competition they would let uber in. What you write is true to some extent (although drivers are now better checked out). A free market will find its place eventually. Uber would also go a long way to solving the DUI problem and reduce police costs hugely…leaving them more time to solve drug and gun crime

    • Anonymous says:

      Wonder if CIG will get their greedy hands on Uber and add their surcharge? Then we’re just back to the same price gouging as our Cayman Taxi Pirates again

  7. "Anonymousir" says:

    i wish they would cut out the part where they say ” help more caymanians”, cause its BS! Which Caymanians? the locals? or the ones who got their status or PR?

    • Anonymous says:

      That only matters if you are a narrow-minded racist bigot.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymousir – Any Caymanian out there! Why are you being biased? Caymanians will be able to figure it out just as easily as a paper Caymanian.
      Helping those that have a spare condo to rent out. Or those with a spare granny flat or lock-off room +

      • Anonymous says:

        The poster is being biased because they are trying to blame others for their own mediocrity. It is common among those with closed political attitudes, the Trumpists, the Brexiteers, the nativists etc…

        • Anonymous says:

          How funny. Was going along with you until you started with that last political bit. You don’t like it when someone doesn’t agree with you on that eh! If I were a voting Brit I’d have voted yes for Brexit. Not sure how that would make me blaming anyone for anything…
          Like they say, an opinion is like an a$$hole. everyone has one.

          • Anonymous says:

            Brexit was achieved by the far right persuading the poorly educated that their life problems were caused by immigrants.

        • Anonymous says:

          All the people you mention are fine with me, although “nativist” is a bit unclear. Are they the ones on the upcoming topless cruise? Anyway, on the subject of closed political attitudes, pot meet kettle!

  8. Anonymous says:

    start with those unfriendly tourisim staff and taxi drivers out at airport that …..

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a quick way to kill your tourism industry. Airbnb is almost completely unregulated and there’s even a website warning off potential users. Check out – ttps://

    Why didn’t CIG simply adopt the Cuban Casas Particulares model – it’s tried, tested and properly regulated.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve used Airbnb all over the world and it’s been great. There are reviews so you can easily pick a good place. Now let’s get uber here!

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you tried a casa before? You show up to the one you rented to find out it’s been rented but their cousin has one they will walk you to. It’s a shittier version of what you reserved but someone offered that person more money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Airbnb is just providing a method for booking vacation rentals, the local regulations and laws are still in effect which require all properties to be licensed and inspected by three departments annually. The inspections are done by Department of Tourism, Department of Environmental Heath and the Fire department. Owners are also required to collect a hotel tax (13%) from all renters and submit monthly tax filings.

  10. Anonymous says:

    As long as the MOU (which doesn’t appear anywhere obvious on the CIG websites so we can’t check it) doesn’t subtly lead to an exclusion of the other companies that have been, are and will be doing this and similar (VBRO, etc.) then its good. What we don’t want (as a matter of principle) is government influencing corporate competition. AirBnB, Uber, whoever feels ‘disruptive’, as long as they stick with the existing rules how you book your room/taxi/etc. shouldn’t matter.

  11. Anonymous says:

    More like: “Airbnb to boost CIGs Tax Coffers”. Also, so much for privacy.

    • AirBNB has a serious legal problem in regard to sharing data with the CIG. They have absolutely no legal right to share private information AirBNB landlords in Cayman gave to AirBNB. Get ready for some of the many American AirBNB owners condo on Seven Mile Beach taking legal action against AirBNB.

      Facebook has learned this month the hard way about sharing private data and AirBNB is about to learn the same way.

      • Anony says:

        Especially once data protection laws come in – AirBnB renters would have to agree to sharing the data. Currently one AirBnB owner has been asked to share ALL emails of renters – absolutely absurd!

      • Anonymous says:

        This is exactly my point!! Thank you.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You need a local hotel license to let out your spare room??

    • Anonymous says:

      Not exactly.

      But you do need govt certification that it is suitable for the intended purpose.
      You know, due to concerns of fire, health, safety, insurance … those little niggling matters.

      • But no govt certification is allowed for beach vendors on Public Beach.
        Go figure?

      • Anony says:

        Government currently has no licensing category for a room in your house, particularly if you don’t offer any food or any cooking capabilities. How will this MOU affect all those under the radar?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. Always have. Anyone renting ‘short term’ needs to have the accommodation registered/inspected/licensed.

      • Anonymous says:

        8:02 And how many people bother to do that? When friends of mine fly in from the USA they’ve got access to about half-a-dozen properties they can rent on an unofficial basis and I doubt that any of those are registered for holiday lets. As far as immigration are concerned they’re coming over to stay with friends. I’m the keyholder to one condo that the owner only uses for about 30 or 40 days a year. The rest of the time I can put friends in there, take a sensible room rate from them and give it to the owner in cash next time he’s here. It’s one thing to have rules but enforcing them is another matter. So much of the property on Grand Cayman and the Brac is second homes it’s virtually impossible to regulate their use.

      • Anonymous says:

        They are welcome to do that but they should come and get the keys from the UK

  13. Anonymous says:

    “…Kirkconnell said brings the tourism product back to its historic roots of Caymanians renting directly to visitors.” -oh my God, is he trying to take credit for AirBnB’s business model too?

    • Anonymous says:

      How does this help sell watches?

      • Anonymous says:

        How much money can we expect an airb&b visitor to spend in the shops and restaurants? More Tshirt tourist.

        • Anonymous says:

          Having stayed in ABB accommodations in another country:
          – There were 6 of us, so the 3-bedroom properties made a good rent that week.
          – There were 6 of us, so the restaurants got good tips that day even if we ate breakfast and some other meals ‘at home’.
          – There were 6 of us, so the rental car company got two rentals for 2+ weeks.
          – There were 6 of us, spending our time off the beaten tourist track (somewhat) so the ‘cultural’ and ‘out of town’ attractions got a bit of business.

          Your comment is like asking ‘how much do UK B&B travelers spend? More fish-n-chip tourists.’ i.e., completely wrong.

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