Kingston hosts earned US$2.4m from Airbnb in 2017
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says there is scope for greater expansion of the Airbnb service in Jamaica, which earned hosts in Kingston US$2.4 million in 2017.
Based in San Francisco, California, in the United States, Airbnb is an online community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique accommodations around the world, whether an apartment for a night or week, or a villa for a month.
Holness said that Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has been working with the executives of Airbnb to streamline the service in Jamaica to make it seamless, thereby resulting in its continued growth locally.
The prime minister was speaking at his quarterly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston on Wednesday.
The tourism minister has said that more and more Jamaicans have been buying into the Airbnb concept, opening up their homes to visitors and earning money as a result.
"This is all a part of Brand Jamaica, and the beauty of the Airbnb solution is that it allows the average Jamaican to participate in the hospitality industry and use Brand Jamaica," Holness said.
According to data from Airbnb, there are now 3,100 hosts in Jamaica, up from 2,300 in December 2016. Listings also saw an increase from 4,000 in 2016 to 5,900 in 2017. Visitor usage saw the most significant increase, from 32,000 in 2016 to 59,500 in the last 12 months.
In the meantime, the prime minister said the tourism sector continues to experience unprecedented growth.
He said that overall, the country recorded a growth of 5.4 per cent for the first six months of this year.
"That's significant, with stopover visitor arrivals increasing by 5.9 per cent and cruise visitors by 4.8 per cent. We expect that this level of growth will continue for the next six months of the year," the prime minister said.