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Airbnb guests pumped $1.7B into Puerto Rico’s economy in ’21

The direct impact of spending by guests booking through Airbnb in Puerto Rico was $1.7 billion in 2021, equivalent to 23.4% of all direct tourism activity that year, according to the findings of a study by Oxford Economics.

Airbnb commissioned Oxford Economics to explore the fiscal significance of the platform’s expanding footprint in Puerto Rico.

The analysis found that in 2021, spending by guests booking through Airbnb (excluding host earnings) directly supported $872.4 million of the island’s GDP, and created 24,000 jobs in Puerto Rico, generating $460.4 million in wages, salaries, and other labor income across a range of sectors.

Most spending by guests booking through Airbnb occured across a range of non- accommodation sectors, including restaurants ($356 million), shopping and groceries ($478 million), local transportation ($228 million), transportation to/from the destination ($286 million), and entertainment, activities, and other expenditures ($385 million), the study confirmed.

“This economic activity benefits Puerto Rico in general, stimulating employment and income in all communities and industries,” said Angel Terral, country manager for Mexico and the Caribbean at Airbnb.

“In addition, most of the spending by guests who used Airbnb occurs in a range of non-accommodation sectors such as: restaurants, stores and transportation providers, and in all types of business categories, from sole proprietorships to nonprofit cultural institutions and large corporations,” he said, upon presenting the study.

The research also found that more than half of Airbnb Hosts in Puerto Rico are women (53%), while 19% are seniors. In addition, the study reflected that spending by non-resident guests (outside of Puerto Rico) accounted for 89.5% of the total spending of guests using Airbnb which reaffirms the impact of tourism on Puerto Rico’s economy.

“In the last few years, short-term rentals added a great deal to Puerto Rico’s lodging capacity and helped our tourism industry recover. Last year Puerto Rico set new records in lodging income, tax collections, and people employed in the tourism industry,” said Ricardo Cortés, director of Public Affairs of Discover Puerto Rico.

“The recovery was an industry-wide effort and short-term rentals had a special role in the process,” he said.

Oxford Economics’ most recent forecasts anticipate a renewed boost to household incomes in Puerto Rico as the tourism sector rebuilds from the impacts of the pandemic and that visitor spending in this sector will exceed $5 billion by 2025.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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