Airbnb ’empties’ the schools in downtown Cancun


Families emigrated as the surplus value of homes increased and with it the increase in rents.

More than 13 basic level schools in Downtown Cancun have lost up to 40% of their students, as a result of the gentrification caused by Airbnb by increasing the capital gains in homes and with it the increase in rents.

Reports from the directors of these schools delivered to the Quintana Roo Secretary of Education reveal that in the last five years they have lost between 20% and 40% of their school enrollment, which has caused the closure of 49 classrooms.

An example is the ” Ciudades Hermanas Wichita ” elementary school, which in 2018 reported 341 students. For this 2022-2023 school year, only 165 were enrolled.

These infants did not disappear but were moved to subdivisions on the outskirts of the city. The SEQ reports a 45% increase in school enrollment in schools located in those zones, during the same period. 72 teachers who taught at the Center were also transferred to meet the demand of those regions.

Data from the Airbnb accommodation platform reveal that since 2015 in the center of the city, 14,810 homes have been adapted to provide the host service. This increased the surplus value of the region, passing the average rent of a house from 12,400 to almost 35,000 pesos per month, according to reports from real estate agencies.

“Most of the people who lived in the first square of the city were upper-middle-class workers who rented housing, since the original owners left Cancun long ago. When they saw that Airbnb was more profitable, they switched to that modality, making the entire region more expensive. It is the so-called gentrification”, declares the engineer and expert urban planner Joaquín Rodríguez Barrios.

He points out that this caused an exodus of thousands of Cancun residents to cheaper regions, the majority located on the outskirts of the city, where new subdivisions have been built. This also explains the mobilization of students.

The teacher Sarah Villanueva Martínez confirms this, explaining that in 2020 the school where she worked, in zone D015, four classrooms were closed due to the loss of students. Consequently, she was also transferred to another campus in the Continental Zone in Isla Mujeres. In that place she met two of her former students.

“Her parents explained to me that they had to move because they couldn’t pay the rent anymore. It’s a sad thing because many children have to adjust to living in unsafe places. It is the consequence of development, as they say,” she concluded.

Source: Novedades Quintana Roo