The Chamber of Tourism of Manta requires the municipality controls to curb activities of people who offer accommodation in their homes online. Social networks and mobile applications are currently the preferred means by owners of houses and apartments to offer their spaces as temporary accommodation for tourists.
This trend spread throughout the world because lower rates are handled than those of a traditional business. The owner of the place receives money for the days of the user’s stay. Although it is similar to the service offered by a hotel, these sites do not have the formal permits and documentation, which is questioned by the sector.
In Ecuador, tourism entrepreneurs in the city of Manta, province of Manabí, filed a complaint with the municipal authorities, with the aim of adopting measures to end the use of these properties for lodging purposes.
Analía Navarrete, Tourism Director of the Municipality of Manta, explained that operations were carried out to stop this illegal activity. “The objective is that the informality of lodging does not expand in the city. We receive complaints from different people linked to the hotel, who argue that they have licenses and operating permits in order, “said the official.
Among the complaints presented was that a hotel also operated irregularly because it offered apartments to travelers through social networks. A suite that in a high-end hotel costs $ 120 a day, in sites that are not legalized the rents are around $ 80. Navarrete explained that the difference is that a hotel can accommodate up to two people, while in apartments they can occupy up to 8 tourists.
Due to school holidays in the Sierra, the months of June and August have been positive reservations, hoteliers revealed. However, they complained that they do feel a drop in demand and attribute it to informal competition. Sample of that, they said, was during the Ironman international event that took place at the beginning of July. On the cliff of Manta, between El Murciélago beach and Barbasquillo, there are some thirty buildings, 70% belongs to people who live in other cities of the country and rent them, Navarrete said.
Ana Canelos, administrator of the La Torre Oro Mar building, on Malecón Avenue, said that there are 30 apartments, the owners do not rent because they occupy them on holidays. However, he receives constant inquiries from travelers looking for accommodation. Rent a house or apartment has lower cost, because, among other things, the collection of value added tax (VAT) of users is not included.
The civil employee requested to the Commissariat of Constructions that from this October the permits for construction of houses and single-family buildings specify in what activity they will be occupied.
According to the authorities, the control actions undertaken as a result of the indictments of the businessmen paid off on the holiday of August 10. “The illegal houses and apartments did not work,” he said.
He added that operations were carried out with the Commissariat of Constructions the entity responsible for granting permits and determining which facility is suitable for the hosting service.
Esteban Fiallos, president of the Chamber of Tourism of Manta, insisted on applying regular controls to avoid unfair competition. The private sector suggests to the Municipality to establish regulations that prevent illegal lodging. The recommendation is that houses and apartments are used as housing or exclusive stay of their owners. But if they wish to provide accommodation they must comply with the corresponding permits. (I)