Airbnb and casas particulares booming in Cuba

Posted: 09-Feb-16 09:27

Accommodation site Airbnb has reported that listings in Cuba have more than tripled in the space of two months as tourism in the country continues to surge. More than 1,000 properties have been listed in just two months.

Airbnb and casas particulares booming in Cuba

Cuba's vast potential as an emerging holiday destination for visitors from the US and further afield has been cemented by a recent spike in listed accommodation, according to travel company Airbnb.

The American site was one of the first accommodation providers to stake a claim in Cuba following President Barack Obama's decision to salvage diplomatic relations with the country and has since reported that the number of properties listed on the island has more than tripled in recent months.

According to a source at Airbnb, it took some of the home-sharing company's market-leading destinations like Berlin and San Francisco three years to reach 1,000 listed properties, but that number has been breached in Cuba in the space of just two months. Of the country's homes that are available for short rent, 40% are based in Havana, with the remainder scattered across 30 locations.

With an existing network of "casas particulares" or private homes and a population widely regarded as warm and welcoming hosts, Cuba was always a natural fit for Airbnb and the company expects a further flurry of tourism once a proper commercial airline service from the US has been established.

An economic bonanza

Naturally, Cuba's increasing popularity as a tourist destination – both for Americans who are starting to find it easier to travel from the US and for travellers from the rest of the world who want to see the country in all its splendour before they arrive – is proving a boon for those living in the big cities.

With the average monthly wage in Cuba amounting to less than $20 USD, a typical nightly room rate of $40 is veritable bonanza – and those with the ability to host are clearly taking advantage. Unfortunately, few Cubans have internet access at home and others lack English-language skills, but those with both at their disposal are now starting to manage properties on behalf of other families.

Co-ordinating everything from arrival services to cleaning and in-home dining, this set-up in Cuba is making for a real cultural exchange between hosts and their guests, and with a raft of positive feedback being left on Airbnb's site, this will only enhance the country's growing tourist reputation.


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