April 6, 2024
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Vacation Rental Boom, A Challenge for Tulum’s Hospitality Industry

TULUM, Mexico – The operational presence of private homes in the vacation rental market is believed to impact the formal hotel industry by as much as 50%, according to Alfredo Soto Martínez, Vice President of the Tulum Hotel Association (AHT).

Soto Martínez pointed out that there is an inventory of over 10,000 units operating under this scheme, which do not adhere to all safety regulations, lack proper permits, and evade taxes.

Furthermore, he emphasized that these entities, aside from being entirely disloyal, have triggered security concerns and generated reports of insecurity within the destination.

Soto Martínez added that these homes, marketed on platforms like Airbnb, charge rates as high as $150 per night for groups of up to 12 individuals.

He called upon the relevant authorities to intervene and regulate all operators functioning under this framework, ensuring they pay taxes, adhere to safety protocols, and obtain the necessary permits.

“We are not comparing apples to apples. This is a serious issue,” he concluded.

Vacation Rental Boom, A Challenge for Tulum's Hospitality Industry

He also mentioned that during this vacation season, occupancy rates did not meet the expectations for the concluding winter period.

Having fallen short of the projected figures, he declared that their aim is for a recovery to manifest during the upcoming winter holiday season, and to achieve this, they are collaborating closely with the Tulum Municipal Government.

In tandem, they will introduce cultural and gastronomic events designed to attract high-spending tourists, primarily from the United States.

The surge in popularity of private vacation rentals has presented both opportunities and challenges for Tulum’s tourism landscape. With thousands of units operating independently, often without conforming to established safety and tax regulations, the traditional hotel industry is facing significant competition.

According to Alfredo Soto Martínez, Vice President of the Tulum Hotel Association (AHT), this phenomenon has led to a substantial reduction in the occupancy rates of formal hotels, which he estimates to be as high as 50%. He highlights that the current inventory comprises over 10,000 units functioning as vacation rentals, a vast number of which bypass essential safety protocols, lack the requisite permits, and do not contribute to local taxes.

Vacation Rental Boom, A Challenge for Tulum's Hospitality Industry

An equally concerning aspect is the reported lack of ethical conduct among these unregulated operators. Beyond their evasion of regulations, these entities have been accused of engendering security issues and fostering an atmosphere of insecurity within the destination itself.

The impact of these private vacation rentals is felt both economically and structurally. Soto Martínez further emphasized that these accommodations, promoted through online platforms such as Airbnb, command premium rates, sometimes reaching as high as $150 per night for sizable groups seeking lodgings.

In response to this pressing issue, Soto Martínez implores competent authorities to take decisive action. He advocates for a comprehensive regulatory framework that ensures all operators within the vacation rental sector adhere to the established norms, pay their fair share of taxes, and comply with essential safety and operational standards.

“This is not a simple comparison. The repercussions are profound,” Soto Martínez asserted with urgency.

He added that the recent vacation season fell short of the anticipated occupancy rates, particularly for the waning winter period. In light of this setback, Soto Martínez articulated the collaborative efforts underway with the Tulum Municipal Government to orchestrate a robust recovery during the upcoming winter holiday season.

Their joint strategy includes the introduction of an array of captivating cultural and gastronomic events, strategically designed to entice affluent tourists, primarily hailing from the United States.


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