Airbnb has over 1,000 listings available in Cuba after the online room and house rental platform opened up for business on the island on Thursday.
Airbnb is the latest major U.S. company to start operating in Cuba after half a century of economic sanctions. Now that President Obama has started to shift U.S. policy regarding Cuba, companies like Netflix, American Express and more have begun operating on Cuba, slowly integrating the island into the modern world. Airbnb, which already operates in close to 200 countries, was clearly ready for the chance to expand again.
“At Airbnb, our vision is to create a world where you can belong anywhere—no matter who you are or how far you’ve traveled,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Today, we’re proud to welcome Cuba to the global Airbnb community.”
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) April 2, 2015
It’s not entirely an anything goes situation though. To use Airbnb, you have to travel with a U.S. visa and be traveling legally under one of the 12 kinds of visa currently being issued by the U.S. government. You can’t go for purely tourist reasons, at least not yet, but if you manage to get the chance to go, you’ll have the chance to stay with locals instead of at a hotel.
“Because we’re building on the rich Cuban tradition of home sharing, we’re uniquely positioned to help Cubans reap the rewards of economic growth while preserving their unique culture,” Airbnb stated. “When Airbnb guests stay in local neighborhoods, they bring business to surrounding entrepreneurs—whether they be hosts, artists, or even ice cream shop owners. Working together with our hosts in Cuba, we can make visitors feel like they belong—even in a place that seemed beyond reach for American travelers just a few months ago.
You can check out Airbnb’s Cuban welcome video below.