Minister Says Airbnb Has Revolutionised Community Tourism

Photo: JIS Photographer ) Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (second left) and Principal of HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Janet Dyer (right), share lens time with future chefs who were among hundreds of high-school students attending the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) Taste of Jamaica competition and expo at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Saturday, December 2. The students are (from left): Asha Muwwaail, Rochelle Frater and Shanique Freeman.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says Airbnb has revolutionised the concept of community tourism, with Jamaica benefiting greatly from what has become a very lucrative value-added market.
  • Speaking at the opening ceremony for the 10th staging of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF)-sponsored Taste of Jamaica event at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on December 2, Mr. Bartlett added that more and more Jamaicans have been buying into the Airbnb concept, opening up their homes to visitors and earning money as a result.
  • “So, what is happening now is that we are broadening the number of rooms that are available to our tourism visitors and guests in little places, and places where you would never think they would go, like Trench Town and Greenwich Town and also communities all across Jamaica,” the Minister said.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says Airbnb has revolutionised the concept of community tourism, with Jamaica benefiting greatly from what has become a very lucrative value-added market.

Speaking at the opening ceremony for the 10th staging of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF)-sponsored Taste of Jamaica event at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on December 2, Mr. Bartlett added that more and more Jamaicans have been buying into the Airbnb concept, opening up their homes to visitors and earning money as a result.

“We recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Airbnb, which will be a game changer in terms of broadening the ‘stakeholdership’ in tourism in Jamaica,” Mr. Bartlett noted.

“What it does is to allow small communities that you never thought had the ability to host visitors to do so by providing accommodation and allowing for interaction within the communities,” he added.

Mr. Bartlett noted that some 55,000 visitors have come to the island so far this year through Airbnb, and where 15,000 householders have benefited by providing accommodation.

“So, what is happening now is that we are broadening the number of rooms that are available to our tourism visitors and guests in little places, and places where you would never think they would go, like Trench Town and Greenwich Town and also communities all across Jamaica,” the Minister said.

Founded in August 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone or tablet.

With up to 97 per cent of price of listings going into the pockets of hosts, Airbnb helps households generate significant income.

For his part, Global Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Airbnb, Christopher Lehane, revealed that globally, the typical Airbnb host earns US$3,100 sharing their primary home, with 49 per cent of a typical host’s income used on everyday expenses like rent and groceries.

“Women hosts have earned US$10 billion in income through Airbnb, and 50,000 women have used this income to support their own entrepreneurship, as have some of our immigrant hosts,” he pointed out.

“Rural communities are increasingly partnering with Airbnb to help with revitalisation, with more than US$1 billion earned by rural hosts in a select set of countries in 2016,” he added.

Mr. Lehane said that by 2030, he expects that more than 400 million Airbnb guests will have arrived in developing countries since the company was founded in 2008. “These guests will have been welcomed by over 28 million hosts,” he noted.

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