The Airbnb accommodation platform released the results of a survey conducted with hosts and guests in Costa Rica, which shows the dynamics of its community in the country, that is becoming larger and more varied, and the positive economic effects it generates for all Costa Ricans.
What is the impact of Airbnb in Costa Rica?
According to this survey, the Estimated Direct and Indirect Economic Impact of Airbnb in this country exceeded US $ 277 million in 2019. This figure is the result of adding all the expenses made by guests in the country: restaurants, purchases in supermarkets, shopping, entertainment and transport.
This Estimated Direct and Indirect Economic Impact is the result, in part, of the suggestions that the hosts give to the guests to help them live like true locals and fully immerse themselves in the culture of the place, at the same time that they promote commerce in the different neighborhoods that are often outside the traditional tourist circuit.
Unlike other business models that draw their money outside of communities, Airbnb’s activity directly benefits the communities that hosts call home.
According to the survey mentioned above, these are the results:
80% of the hosts surveyed say they recommend businesses in their neighborhood.
80% recommend cafes and restaurants.
46% recommend businesses and stores.
55% recommend cultural activities.
75% recommend outdoor activities.
“With these figures, we want to show how the community of hosts and travelers who use Airbnb contribute to the economic development of Costa Rica and at the same time reaffirm our commitment to the country. We will continue working to support the reactivation of safe tourism and therefore, the economic reactivation, for all Ticos,”said Carlos Muñoz, Airbnb’s Director of Public Policies for the region.
Who are the Airbnb hosts in the country?
All these benefits to the local economy are possible thanks to the tireless work of the hosts. Airbnb hosts in Costa Rica are hard-working and dedicated people who open the doors of their homes to travelers from all over the world with a warmth and hospitality that is reflected in the reviews received on the platform: 80% are 5 stars, the highest possible rating.
The results of the survey shed light on the profile of these people.
Most of them have other occupations besides hosting, that are:
41% are small entrepreneurs
20% are teachers
12% are public servants
9% are artists
And they dedicate different percentages of their time to their activities:
50% work full time
16% work part time
19% are retired
7% have no other activity
Among the reasons that led them to share a space on the platform are:
60% said they do it to earn extra income
31% explained that they use the money they get to make ends meet
37% started with the intention of knowing new cultures
In this sense, we highlight the destination of the money they obtain:
56% say they have used the money to make improvements to their home
42% have used their income to pay their mortgage
26% have used the money to go on vacation
Save 11% for your pension
8% allocate it to the education of their children
“I am a host in Zarcero. In 2018 I decided to open the doors of my house to travelers from all over the world. Until the pandemic arrived, I had rented my space an average of 8 days a month,”says Joaquín, an Airbnb host in Zarcero who is retired. “Being a host is an enriching experience that has allowed me to have income to pay for my household expenses and to allocate between 10% and 15% to maintenance expenses.
“Guests who have visited me are looking to explore less touristy areas, save money and find accommodation for the whole family. Many of the tourists who visit us tell that what is interesting for them is to be able to live as “just another neighbor.” For this reason, they visit the dairies, restaurants, grocery stores and cafes of the Zarcereña community, thanks to the recommendations that I myself give them”, Don Joaquín illustrates.
The future of Airbnb in Costa Rica
Airbnb is committed to continue working towards the development of tourism in Costa Rica and to continue supporting its community of hosts and guests. In this regard, Carlos Muñoz explains that “Today as a result of the pandemic we are seeing a trend in the number of Costa Ricans seeking to travel close to home.
Thus, 70% of searches in June 2020 were for domestic travel, compared to 25% last year. Thesehyperlocal destinations, which will be the new favorites after the pandemic, will trigger an unparalleled opportunity to decentralize tourism, which will open more opportunities for extra income to all the people who participate in the Costa Rican tourism ecosystem”.
Finally, Carlos Muñoz confirmed that Airbnb will continue to work hand in hand with various government authorities, including tax authorities. “We know that in order to continue contributing to the economy of Costa Ricans through the democratization of tourism, we must do it hand in hand with the authorities at different levels and priorities.
“In a context as challenging as the one we are going through due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism is positioned as a tool that will be key when it comes to reactivating the economy due to its power to bring benefits to all corners of the country. Airbnb wants to be an ally of communities and tourism entrepreneurs so that they can get back on their feet and open their doors to all those who are eager to visit them after months of confinement”.