Carlos Muñoz, Head of Public policy at Airbnb Inc, Central America and the Caribbean, cited that the natural warmth and friendliness of Jamaicans were the major factors in Airbnb’s decision to give the Caribbean the signal honour of establishing the first Airbnb host club in the Caribbean.

“On the one side, Government has been tremendously receptive to the concept of Airbnb and home sharing in general as a way to diversify the tourism product that Jamaica offers. Also, it allows for more everyday Jamaicans to participate in the tourism industry,” Muñoz explained.

While the launch took place in Kingston, Muñoz said the long-term plan was for more branches to be launched in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio and other resort areas, as needs dictate, in the long run.

Havanah Llewellyn, President of the Jamaica Home Sharing Association, put into perspective the game-changing potential of the tourism dynamic and cited, “Airbnb is probably one of the single most important things that have happened to Jamaica in the last 50 years.”

She added, “Although Jamaica is known for sand and sun and all that is great, it’s really about our people. Now you get an opportunity to really interact with our people.”