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Airbnb taxes are just the beginning, says hotel group leader

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Hotels claim they have unfair competition in Yucatan. Photo: Getty

Mérida, Yucatán — The head of a business group representing hotels urged swift passage of a law taxing Airbnb rentals, and suggested other businesses should also contribute to the state’s tourism promotion fund.

Although the tax was projected to begin Jan. 1, it has remained stalled in Congress since it was presented in December.

Héctor Navarrete Medina, president of the Mexican Association of Hotels of Yucatan (AMHY) said the new law would bring between 6 and 9 million additional pesos to the tourism fund.

Hotel owners pay taxes that homeowners, who offer their properties for rent, don’t. This rankles the hotel owners, who say that online home rentals represent unfair competition.

The proposal includes a census to find out the total number of homes, apartments and rooms offered on the platform, both in Mérida and in the interior of the state. A search for entire homes for rent today revealed over 300 choices on Airbnb’s site. Other options could appear on rivals like HomeAway.

Navarrete Medina listed other types of businesses in the tourist sector that should be taxed and contributing to the tourist fund: transportation, restaurants and car rental company among them. Beer and soft drink brands, which are based in the area, should be contributing as well, he said, although he admitted that it would be difficult to quantify how much those industries benefit from tourism.

A healthier tourism promotion budget would benefit everyone, he said.

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