Airbnb is to start offering accommodation in Cuba to travellers from around the world from April 2.
The home sharing site has been granted special authorization by the US Treasury to allow the company to provide accommodation in Cuba to non-US travellers.
The announcement comes as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to improve relations with Cuba and less than a year after Airbnb first opened doors to licensed US-travellers only.
Cuba has a large network of casas particulares, traditional private home-stays run by local micro-entrepreneurs that have been a popular accommodation choice for visitors for many years.
About 4,000 casas particulares owners have added their homes to Airbnb’s global community, making Cuba the fastest-growing market in the company’s history.
These hosts have earned an average of $250 per booking.
Airbnb accommodation offerings spread across nearly 40 cities and towns in Cuba, with about a third of listings outside Havana, including Trinidad, Viñales, Santiago de Cuba, Matanzas and Cienfuegos.
For Cuban accommodation on Airbnb in Cuba, travellers are required to attest they are traveling to Cuba under one of the 12 licence categories as directed on the platform during the booking process.
Airbnb co-founder, Nathan Blecharczyk, said: “Airbnb was built on our belief that you can belong anywhere. We invite people to visit neighbourhoods, meet new people, make new friends, and experience new places like a local.
“In less than a year, this has proven true in Cuba with more than 13,000 guests from each of the 50 US states.
“Now, we will be able to offer the same belonging to travellers from any country, while doing our part to preserve what makes Cuba so special and unique.”