Cuba is Airbnb’s fastest-growing market, Brian Chesky, the group’s executive director, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. The company, based in San Francisco, began offering its services on the Island this April, allowing travelers from the United States to rent private rooms on the Island via the Internet.
“It has been forty days since we launched in Cuba. We started with 1,000 homes and now we have 2,000,” Chesky congratulated himself. The success is even more amazing when you take into account the fact that the vast majority of homeowners do not have Internet and must resort to intermediaries to offer their services.
The Airbnb director believes that US president Barack Obama’s announcement on December 17 of last year to restore diplomatic relations with Havana has been a boon for the company, as have the relaxations of the rules for travel to the Island, although they still don’t permit Americans to visit as tourists.
Chesky was in Washington on Monday to meet with the US president and several businessmen to promote the Executive’s global entrepreneurship program. “The desire of President Obama is to unite the American and Cuban communities,” added the newly appointed staffer for the White House on issues related to the Island.
On its website, the company founded in 2008 explains that “Airbnb believes Cuba could become one of the largest markets in Latin America group.”
More than half of the rooms offered at the Island are in the capital (with a price ranging from $23 a day for a room to $370 for an apartment for nine people). The offers in other localities such as Morón, Camagüey, Santa Clara and Cienfuegos are much more modest and prices remain below the average for Havana.