The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region's tourism development agency, and Airbnb, a community marketplace for accommodations, signed a landmark agreement to develop a set of policy principles and recommendations on the sharing economy for Caribbean governments and other stakeholders.

Under the agreement, signed at the CTO's headquarters by Secretary General and CEO Hugh Riley and Airbnb's Shawn Sullivan, public policy director for Central America and the Caribbean, both organizations will share data and studies with policymakers about the positive impact of the sharing economy in the region; identify ways to make it more inclusive; and attract new stakeholders and focus on providing authentic cultural experiences.

This partnership agreement will also provide to the CTO an economic analysis of Airbnb's positive impact on local economies. By reviewing Airbnb's aggregate data, key stakeholders will be briefed on the value of peer-to-peer review mechanisms. At the same time, Caribbean government officials and other stakeholders will learn about the long-term benefits of the sharing economy and home sharing.

"The CTO is establishing a basis for mutual cooperation with Airbnb,” Riley said. “It is important for us to examine all aspects of this important segment of the sharing economy. We believe that by clearly understanding Airbnb's massive influence in capturing consumers' interest in unique accommodations we will be in a position to properly advise our members and to allow the Caribbean to achieve the goals of year-round profitability, visitor satisfaction and sustainable tourism development.”

Currently, there are 41,000 listings across the Caribbean and a typical host in the Caribbean earns approximately $3,900 per year. The new agreement will also help to identify new ways to market the Caribbean as a region: “One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean” and grow the tourism industry.

"This is an exciting partnership for Airbnb,” Sullivan said. “We look forward to working with the CTO to develop policy recommendations for regional governments and other stakeholders on the sharing economy. The Caribbean is an important and growing market … we expect continued growth here.”