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t’s been just two months since Jamaica’s tourism authorities signed a deal with online travel marketplace Airbnb, but already the island is reaping the benefits, with tens of thousands of visitors arriving in the island.
And the country’s officials are ready to expand the fruitful partnership.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica has already received 32,000 visitors via Airbnb, which allows people to list, discover and book unique accommodations around the world whether an apartment for a night or week, or a villa for a month. That’s since Airbnb and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in December 2016.
Airbnb is now surpassing some major hotel chains in terms of the number of beds offered.
There are about 1,200 accommodations in Jamaica registered under Airbnb, most of them from inner-city communities, including Trench Town, which will be repositioned as a major tourist hub as the birthplace of reggae.
“This level of (diversity) in the way accommodation is offered is broadening the base of ownership within tourism and is enabling a wider entrepreneurship to emerge,” he said after touring Trench Town recently.
Bartlett added that he will meet with representatives from Airbnb in April to advance the MOU.
The memorandum seeks to establish a framework for cooperation to boost and diversify Jamaica’s tourism product as the Government seeks to attract more visitors and improve earnings.