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    One night in an Airbnb in Cuba costs twice what many Cubans make per month

    One night in an Airbnb in Cuba costs twice what many Cubans make per month
    By Nidhi Prakash

    Four months after Airbnb opened for business in Cuba, it’s becoming
    clear what kind of impact the uptick in American tourism may have on the
    local economy. The Associated Press reports that between January and May
    alone, there were 36 percent more American tourists visiting the country
    compared to the same time the last year.

    Cubans have been listing places to stay on the holiday rental site since
    April, offering the new wave of American visitors everything from $1,180
    penthouses to $10 shared rooms in hostels. The Economist points out that
    there are listings that charge almost ten times the average Cubans’
    monthly income of around $25. Even the average listing price, $45 per
    night, is well above the average monthly income. So either above-average
    earners are mostly capitalizing on Airbnb, or average Cubans on the site
    are making a killing compared to their regular salaries.

    Here’s that penthouse, in the heart of Havana, with four bedrooms and a
    roof top pool, for $1,180 per night:

    RHPLZOF15 4BR Luxury Penthouse ST in Havana

    Apartment in Havana, Cuba. Luxury Penthouse South Atlantic Standing over
    the Malecon this is without doubt one of the finest penthouse
    accommodations in Havana. The furniture, the colors, the ambiance, the
    24 hours customized service; everything has been thoroughly analyze…
    View all listings in Havana

    And you’d get something like this for the Cuba-wide average price of $45
    per night:

    HAV-2.1 Deluxe Florez double room in La Habana

    Bed & Breakfast in La Habana, Cuba. Very comfortable room with private
    bathroom and air conditioning, TV, minibar, safe. They have a beautiful
    garden and patio and all the conditions for a prefect stay. Even a pool!
    House with a beautifully decorated colonial architecture, beautifu… View
    all listings in La Habana

    Or you could try a shared room in a hostel, for $10 per night:

    Hostal Cubabackpackers in La Habana

    Apartment in La Habana, Cuba. Cubabackpackers tiene una situación
    inmejorable, muy cerca del Vedado, El Malecón, la Plaza de la Revolución
    y el famoso Estadio Latinoamericano. Está situado en una edificio con
    excelentes vista de la esta maravillosa ciudad. View all listings in La
    Habana

    There are around 2,000 listings on offer at the moment. As travel news
    site Skift reported, even early on when there were just about 1,000 on
    the site, about half of the listings were actually controlled by five or
    six individuals.

    This is partly because only a very small percentage–around five
    percent–of Cubans have access to the internet. Obviously, renting out an
    Airbnb relies heavily on the internet.

    Aside from the access issue though, Skift reports that Cubans in Miami
    or other places could also be renting out accommodation from a distance.
    As CityLab tells us, Cuban casas particulares–local Bed and Breakfast
    arrangements–have been around for years and fit especially well with the
    Airbnb model.

    “Because we’re building on the rich Cuban tradition of home sharing,
    we’re uniquely positioned to help Cubans reap the rewards of economic
    growth while preserving their unique culture,” a post on Airbnb’s
    official blog says.

    Locals with casas particulares might be getting around the internet
    restrictions by going through overseas-based agencies that handle the
    bookings through the website for them. One “host,” Point 2 Cuba, appears
    to be based in Canada. “AirBNB’s host was Point to Cuba, but they then
    represented Frank the local owner,” one guest wrote in their site review
    for the “host.”

    Travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba are set to ease up after
    the U.S. government decided late last year to reestablish diplomatic
    relations with the country for the first time since 1961. Though there
    are still some restrictions on travel–Americans are required to be
    traveling for purposes other than tourism–it seems unlikely that Cuban
    officials and locals will want to discourage tourism dollars by checking
    up on visitors, as NPR points out.

    With airlines offering increasing options for direct flights between
    U.S. cities and Havana, the number of American tourists in Cuba will
    almost certainly rise. And there have been moves by the Cuban government
    to expand internet access somewhat on the island, which could mean less
    wealthy people having a better chance to take advantage of the tourist
    flood gates opening.

    Source: One night in an Airbnb in Cuba costs twice what many Cubans make
    per month | Fusion –
    fusion.net/story/177562/cuba-airbnb-costs-twice-local-monthly-income/

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