Cuba's Airbnb Properties Go Global

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The U.S. and Cuba have led a strained relationship since the two countries severed ties in 1961. Like any divorce, the countries split assets. The U.S. took Guantanamo, and Cuba kept the cigars. Now, with the slow lifting of travel restrictions, Airbnb’s found a new hub on the island of Cuba, and as of April 2, these properties are open to the entire world.

Last year, 13,000 U.S. travelers stayed with Cuban hosts, but, recently, the Obama
administration lifted restrictions on the home-sharing site and opened Airbnb activities in Cuba for the rest of the world to enjoy. In a year, Airbnb’s reaped these benefits:

? 13,000 U.S. travelers stayed with Cuban hosts
? 4,000 Cuban hosts, up from 1,000 in early 2015
? Listings span 40 Cuban cities, most of which are in Havana
? $250 in average earnings per booking
? U.S. travelers have come from all 50 states, with 27.8 percent from California
? 35 percent of U.S. trips to Cuba have been for educational purposes

Airbnb is just the latest of many full-blown expansions onto the island. Starwood Hotels signed the first U.S. contract in Cuba since 1959. Airlines are fighting over Cuban runways. And it seems a ton of Americans are just fighting for a visit, considering interest is the highest it’s ever been.

Still, travel to Cuba isn’t entirely open to U.S. residents yet, though it’s getting close. Currently, travel between the two countries requires a connection through Canada or Mexico or masquerading as a biologist keen on studying Cuban topsoil—or any of these other sanctioned criteria.

Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.

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