Carlos Muñoz, Airbnb Director of Public Policy and Communications for the Caribbean and Central America.
NEW YORK, New York--The Caribbean, a region made up of over thirty countries and territories, is known for being a prime international tourist destination, however, more locals have started to travel around the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) countries, thanks to Airbnb, a press release from Airbnb states. The platform shared during the CTO’s Caribbean Week in New York City that local nights booked on Airbnb within CTO member countries almost doubled during the first quarter (Q1) of 2023.
“Local tourism has proved to be more resilient, a more immediate and frequent option to drive positive economic impact. During the pandemic, when international borders were closed, it was locals who restarted the tourism economy and opened new destinations; we are happy to see the growth of this segment in the Caribbean,” mentioned Carlos Muñoz, Airbnb's Director of Public Policy and Communications for the Caribbean and Central America.
The platform shared that the CTO countries with the highest growth of domestic nights booked were: Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, The Bahamas and Barbados.
International travellers still represent the majority of guests arriving to the Caribbean, however, Airbnb also highlighted a new trend in the Caribbean region: nearby inter-island travelling. On Airbnb, the share of nights booked between islands of the CTO compared to the total nights booked nearly doubled during the same period, indicating new economic opportunities for the region, according to the release.
“I welcome this news as home-sharing opportunities have been a game changer with respect to enabling the benefits of tourism to be more evenly spread throughout our communities,” indicated Kenneth Bryan, CTO Chairman.
“I am very pleased that destinations in the region are benefiting from their affiliation with Airbnb, particularly in the domestic context. The CTO’s ongoing efforts to improve regional connectivity will further enhance the economic, social and cultural benefits of home-sharing by making domestic travel easier and more convenient,” he added.
Airbnb economic impact
The benefits of Airbnb go beyond the income of hosts. Based on Airbnb information, in 2022, 81% of hosts that are part of the CTO, who gave recommendations of local attractions to their guests, such as restaurants and shops, recommended places in the neighbourhoods where their listings are located.
According to Oxford Economics research, for each US $10 spent on accommodations in Latin America and the Caribbean, Airbnb guests spend an additional $45 for other businesses during their trip, like restaurants, transportation and other activities.
The sector is rebuilding from pandemic impacts and Oxford Economics’ forecast anticipates visitor spending in Latin America and the Caribbean will approach $500 billion in 2025 ($492.6 billion), over 16% above its pre-pandemic level, the release states.
Early this year, Airbnb announced the recipients of the 2022 Airbnb Community Fund grant. In 2022, the programme focused primarily on sustainability, with more than $6 million in grants awarded to more than 20 organisations working to protect our planet and promote sustainability and environmental conservation, in 19 countries on six continents, including Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) in Jamaica received $250,000. The GTRCMC project will benefit Jamaica, Barbados and Grenada to help raise awareness among Caribbean tourism micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs (MSMEs) about the importance of climate-responsible practices in their operations, as well as encouraging them to take urgent action to combat climate change, the release concludes.