Airbnb launches in Cuba

The tech company launches in Cuba.

Airbnb, the world’s largest online platform to rent lodging from local hosts launched in Cuba last week according to U.S. News & World Report. Over 1000 list things have already been made available.

This was made possible by looser restrictions brought on by President Obama’s desire to normalize relations with Cuba.

Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said “Licensed U.S. travelers will now be able to experience the unique culture and warm hospitality that makes the island so special through our new Cuban community,”
Airbnb said in a press release that they are using the casas particulares that are already in use. These are homes rented out by local entrepreneurs.
According to Cristina Calzadilla of DKC Public Relations, the firm that represents Airbnb “The company plans to file to obtain a special license that would allow it to support travel by non-U. S. persons. In 2015, Cuba has already become one of the company’s most searched for destinations in Latin America, with more Americans searching for it than Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires or Mexico City.”
As of now American are only allowed to travel to Cuba for reasons that fall into twelve categories including religion.  The Obama led White House has eased the restriction to get one of these licenses as of late.
Launch of Airbnb in Cuba is mainly symbolic as of now due to the restrictions. The move shows a forward thinking investment strategy for the company. David Gomez, political director of the advocacy group CubaNow said, “hopefully the start of a trend of American businesses finding ways to engage with Cuban entrepreneurs,”.

Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel added “Airbnb has navigated technical, financial and political hurdles to be first-movers in their sector,”
As of now around 100,000 American travel to the island every year.
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