Airbnb will now let travelers from outside the U.S. to book properties in Cuba after receiving authorization from the U.S. government, reports the Associated Press. Previously, only Americans were allowed to reserve the site’s Cuban listings. They will open to international users on April 2.
Airbnb launched its Cuban operations in April 2014, four months after the Obama administration revealed that it will begin to restore diplomatic relations with the Communist country.
The historic policy change means that travel and trade sanctions will be lifted, which is expected to boost tourism to Cuba dramatically because Americans no longer need licenses to visit. In fact, President Obama is currently on an official visit to Cuba, the first president since Calvin Coolidge to do so.
According to the AP, Cuba is currently Airbnb’s fastest-growing market, with about 4,000 homes added since it opened listings.
Other travel businesses taking advantage of the U.S.-Cuba thaw include Starwood Hotels, which announced a deal yesterday to manage three Cuban hotels, making it the first American company in six decades to do so, and Marriot, which has received permission from the Treasury Department to pursue agreements with Cuban partners.
Sprint and Verizon are also launching services for tourists to Cuba. The two are the first American companies to offer direct roaming service after signing deals with Cuba’s state-owned telecom.
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