The United States Virgin Islands has signed a landmark agreement with Airbnb that will allow the platform to collect the territory’s 12.5 percent hotel room occupancy tax.
The agreement, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, will see the tax funds remitted to the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Airbnb has been signing tourism agreements with a number of destinations, but this is the first such agreement to explicitly allow for tax collection through the platform.
The agreement also creates a framework to promote tourism to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“This is good for our Government because it streamlines the collection process and enables more of our residents to participate in the visitor industry,” said U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp. “Our hospitality sector will also greatly benefit from the promotional reach of this multibillion-dollar organization.”
Airbnb has around 2,000 active listings across the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Airbnb represents a supplemental income, which helps families pay their bills and improve their quality of life. As local hosts bring more tourism to the region, visitors get to know the country from an organic and more authentic point of view, spending in local businesses and services, as well as encouraging others to visit the islands as a result of their positive experience,” said Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb’s Public Policy Manager for the Caribbean and Central America.
The company says the average Airbnb host in the Virgin Islands earns about $7,700 per year.
“This agreement brings to the table a well-resourced partner to help with our efforts to attract people to our islands,” said U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
— Alexander Britell