JAMAICA: Airbnb seeing rapid growth

Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs for Airbnb sits with Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett at a Press Briefing at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Wednesday.

(Jamaica Observer)

Silicon Valley giant Airbnb, the world’s largest online home lodging portal, detailed their rapid growth in Jamaica over the last year at a high-level luncheon and press conference hosted by them at the global tourism conference in Montego Bay yesterday.

Former special assistant counsel to US President Bill Clinton, Chris Lehane, made the disclosure before a packed room of officials including the tourism ministers of Jamaica and the Bahamas and high level Caribbean and international government, tourism policy and industry officials.

Lehane, who is now the head of global policy and public affairs for Airbnb, also disclosed that Jamaica’s hotels are experiencing consistently record high occupancy rates, and rapidly increasing numbers of tourists are also using the homes of primarily ordinary Jamaicans, via Airbnb, to vacation with figures showing 54,000 guest arrivals this year compared to 36,000 for all of last year.

He added that this is in addition to 5,600 active listings today coming from 3,600 last year and Jamaica’s hosts earning a total of US$8.6 million or J$1.1 billion this year over US$5.8 million or J$737 million last year, almost all of which is pumped into the local economy.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett congratulated Airbnb and the many ordinary Jamaicans who have become first class hosts for thousands of tourists.

Airbnb lodgings are popular around uptown areas in Kingston and several inner-city communities with the most prominent being Trench Town, former  home of reggae icon Bob Marley; Portmore; Treasure Beach; Montego Bay; Ocho Rios; Portland and other areas along the North Coast.

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