Mexico City partners with Airbnb to entice digital nomads

Mexico: The local government in Mexico City has outlined its plans to entice more remote workers [digital nomads] to the city after signing a partnership with Airbnb and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO].

The city is already seen as something of a hub for digital nomads after waves of remote workers moved there after the start of the pandemic, although it has also raised concerns among local residents that the announcement given by Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum will contribute to pricing them out of the rental market, drive up inflation and widen the wealth disparity between locals and wealthier workers moving from abroad.

Despite that, Sheinbaum said that there was no direct correlation between rental prices and the presence of Airbnb, adding that the majority of digital nomads would instead prefer to stay in more expensive neighbourhoods than some in Mexico City, including Condesa, Polanco and Roma.

As a result of the partnership, Airbnb will enable more residents in Mexico City and across the country to launch their own tourism ‘Experiences’ for tourists, according to the Mayor.

Meanwhile, Frédéric Vacheron, UNESCO representative for Mexico, said: “Creativity is the source from which culture emanates. Therefore, it must be a source of universal growth that we support and strengthen.

“Mexico City is synonymous with creative tourism. It has more museums than any other global city, other than London. Its linguistic diversity encompasses at least 55 of the 68 indigenous languages, and it is the entity in Mexico that has the most UNESCO declarations, among which include the UNESCO city networks such as the Creative City of Design, City of Learning and Inclusive City,” he added.

Recent data by AirDNA showed that short-term rental average daily rates [ADRs] in Mexico City rose by 27 per cent to $93 in August, in comparison with the same month in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last April, Airbnb joined other global tourism brands, including Marriott and Hilton, in contributing to a $2.5 billion investment by The World Travel and Tourism Council [WTTC] in Mexico’s tourism industry. The announcement at the time was made by organisation president Christopher J. Nasseta at the twentieth WTTC summit, and it was pledged that 100,000 jobs would be generated in the country’s tourism industry.

Airbnb, whose own CEO Brian Chesky is a global member of the Council, was joined by brands such as Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean, Japan Airlines and more, in a bid to discuss how to drive Mexico’s struggling tourism sector forward post-pandemic.

In the previous July, however, Mexico City proposed to ban home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb as part of a bill put forward by Leticia Estrada Hernández of the Leftist National Regeneration Movement [Morena] to reform zoning laws in the capital.

Under the proposed amendment to zoning law Article 17, all private residential properties would have been prohibited from carrying out “industrial, commercial or service activities”.