Last updated: 10:30 AM ET, Thu April 02 2015

Airbnb Announces More Than 1,000 Listings in Cuba

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | April 02, 2015

Airbnb Announces More Than 1,000 Listings in Cuba

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Beginning on Thursday, licensed U.S. travelers eying a trip to Cuba can choose from over 1,000 different Airbnb listings on the Caribbean island.

Airbnb's announcement comes just months after President Barack Obama declared eased restrictions on travel to Cuba earlier this year. 

As of this week, roughly 40 percent of Airbnb's listings in Cuba are located in the capital city of Havana, while the remaining 60 percent are located in cities like Matanzas, Cienfuegos, and Santa Clara. 

"Hospitality isn’t a commodity in Havana—it’s a way of life," states an Airbnb blog post. "Cubans have been welcoming visitors into their homes for decades. Casas particulares—a network of private homestays—have been a popular choice for visitors, as well as an important source of income for thousands of Cuban families."

Airbnb published a 90-second video to its official YouTube account to showcase its newest participating destination:

Unsurprisingly, Airbnb expects significant demand for accommodations in Cuba in the wake of the White House's new policy. The company said that it saw a 70 percent rise in Cuba searches from American users since Obama first introduced the new strategy last December and that, in 2015, Cuba has emerged as one of the most popular Latin American destination among Americans.

This year, more Americans are searching for Cuba on Airbnb than places like Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Mexico City.

"For over 50 years, Cuba has been out of reach for most Americans," said Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk. "We couldn't be more excited that, starting today, 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."

Currently, Airbnb's new platform is only available to U.S. travelers who can prove that they are traveling to Cuba under one of the 12 categories permitted by the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

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