Online lodging service Airbnb opens Cuba listings to world

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

HAVANA (AP) — The Obama administration has given San Francisco-based online lodging service Airbnb a special license allowing travelers from around the world to book stays in private homes in Cuba.

Airbnb was the first major American company to enter Cuba after Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro declared detente on Dec. 17, 2014. The online service handles listing, booking and payments for people looking to stay in private homes instead of hotels. Cuba has become its fastest-growing market, with about 4,000 homes added over the last year.

Airbnb had only been allowed to let U.S. travelers use its services in Cuba under a relatively limited Obama administration exception to a U.S. trade embargo. That limit has been lifted, dramatically increasing the number of people likely to use the service in Cuba.