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Airbnb for tourism conference

One of the world's best known online marketplaces for accommodation has been confirmed to present at the region's leading tourism gathering.

The San Francisco, California-based Airbnb has confirmed its participation in next month's State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Barbados.

The home rental company's regional manager for the Caribbean, Mikel Freemon, will join a panel on the sharing economy at the September 14-16 conference organised by the region's tourism development agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO).

"The sharing economy is a US$26-billion sector and Airbnb is one of the most successful architects of the accommodation component of this sector, disrupting the traditional hotel industry and raising concern among the incumbent firms. We are delighted to have Airbnb share its success model as we examine this hybrid market model and discuss the challenges, risks and opportunities for the Caribbean tourism sector," Sylma Brown, director of the CTO's New York office, said.

Airbnb is a US$25.5-billion business and has served over 60 million people since it was formed in 2008. The community marketplace has over two million listings in 191 countries and earned nearly US$1 billion in revenue last year.

Freemon will be joined on the panel by Khalil Bryan, a Barbadian entrepreneur and co-founder of Caribbean Transit Solutions, which provides on-demand and real-time information on taxis and buses, and Frank Comito, the chief executive officer of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. It will be moderated by Paul Pennicook, Jamaica's director of tourism.

The session on the sharing economy takes place on Friday, September 16.

The State of the Tourism Industry Conference, which has as its theme 'Honouring Our Legacy, Defining Our Future', is the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students, the media and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. It is preceded by CTO business meetings, including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.

For more information on SOTIC, including how you can register, participate and benefit, visit www.sotic.onecaribbean.org

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