Cebu hotels admit Airbnb poses unfair competition
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - May 23, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Hotels in Cebu have cried foul over the strong entry of accommodations offered via Airbnb in Cebu, admitting that this new concept of hospitality business is already starting to affect the businesses of conventional industry players.

Because of this the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) will formalize its request to the government through the Department of Tourism (DOT) to craft proper regulations on the Airbnb service to level the playing field.

HRRAC president Carlo Suarez admitted that the rising number of Airbnb players in Cebu has already affected the hospitality business and has slowly eaten a considerable market share.

“Airbnb is eating the market of the hotels,” admitted Suarez, explaining that the occupancy result of the recent Sinulog Festival this year had proven the threatening effect of Airbnb to the legitimate hotel business.

HRRAC joins other hospitality organizations like the Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA) lobbied DOT to apply an occupancy tax on Airbnb hosts because they felt Airbnb places were unfair competition for hotels.

Suarez said HRRAC will coordinate closely with DOT following the announcement made by tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat last week that the DOT will come up with accreditation system for Airbnb units in the country.

“We are interested to know the guidelines they [DOT] will set for this new player,” Suarez adding that a formal position paper will be crafted by HRRAC once the guidelines will be released.

At present, accommodation facilities being accredited by the DOT include hotels, resorts, apartment hotels, pension houses, motels, tourist inns and homestays.

Airbnb had 12 million guests checked into an Airbnb listing in off-the-beaten-track destinations in Asia-Pacific in the past year, a 70 percent growth rate year-over-year.

Currently, there are almost 500,000 Airbnb listings in these destinations.

Airbnb’s community of hospitality entrepreneurs in these atypical destinations collectively earned nearly $1 billion through hosting on Airbnb in 2018.

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