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Airbnb launches new website allowing foreign tourists to directly book privately owned accommodation in Cuba

Renting a room in one of Cuba's popular privately owned "casas particulares" will be as easy as operating of few clicks on a newly launched website by Airbnb, an online portal for booking room rentals and homestays from all over the world. Over 1,000 Cuban properties have now been added to Airbnb's online portfolio, allowing Americans to directly book rooms in the island for the first time ever, starting tomorrow.

Airbnb launches new website allowing foreign tourists to directly book privately owned accommodation in Cuba

A global service allowing travellers to directly book over a million of homestays, from all over the world has just launched a new portal for booking room rentals in Cuba.

Becoming the first ever online portal to group over 1,000 Cuban properties island-wide, all bookable at the touch of a click, Airbnb will allow American travellers planning holidays to Cuba (now possible thanks to Obama’s ease of travel restrictions to the island) to directly book accommodation in Cuba’s private sector, an unprecedented move after more than a half-a-century of U.S. trade embargo blocked such businesses from entering the Cuban market.

Cuba’s iconic “casas particulares” always rising in popularity and now increasing in number thanks to the Cuban government’s change in legislation allowing more private businesses to set up, can now be easily booked online and through Airbnb’s mobile app starting this Thursday 9th April.

After a recent spike in searches for “Cuba” on their website, Airbnb had been sending teams of representative to the island in the space of three months, in order to secure contracts with local home owners. At present they feature over one thousand properties across the island, with 40 per cent of these located in the capital city of Havana, while the rest are found in other less trodden tourist destinations like Cienfuegos, just a few hours from the capital on the southern coast.

Regional Director for Airbnb, Kay Kuehne, said of their new move into the Cuban market;

"We believe that Cuba could become one of Airbnb’s biggest markets in Latin America,”

“We are actually plugging into an existing culture of micro-enterprise in Cuba. The hosts in Cuba have been doing for decades what we just started doing seven years ago."

The online portal hopes to expand their number of rooms in Cuba steadily over the coming months and recent changes in the Caribbean island have helped pave the way for this new venture.

Casas particulares are Cuba’s alternative to the classic B&B concept. This style of accommodation provided in local’s private homes was kick-started by the post-Soviet economic crisis of the 1990s where the island looked to tourism as a way to keep their economy floating. But the classic idea of the casas particulares has slowly developed over the years with many of these having now turned into much more sophisticated abodes, where the visitor can rent entire apartments, flats and colonial houses in central Havana to grand multi-room beach houses with the added service of a live-in maid and cook.

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