By the Caribbean Journal staff
Airbnb has been making major inroads in the Caribbean — and one destination is seeing bigger growth than the others, according to newly released data from the sharing economy giant.
The leader? The island of St Thomas, which topped the Caribbean rankings for 2018, followed by San Juan, Puerto Rico.
St Thomas, the tourism hub of the United States Virgin Islands, saw a 600 percent increase in bookings over the last year on the home-sharing platform, led by Charlotte Amalie.
“We have been working diligently to rebuild and revamp our tourism product, and we are encouraged that our efforts to increase overnight visitors to the United States Virgin Islands are bearing fruit,” said USVI Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
The rankings are based on internal Airbnb data as of September 2018.
They measured future guest bookings for the upcoming peak tourist season for November 2018 to March 2019 in the Caribbean, with only destinations with a minimum of 100 guest arrivals making the cut.
Those projections were compared to future guest bookings for the period in 2017-2018.
It’s yet another example of what has been an admirable tourism recovery for the greater US Virgin Islands in the wake of last year’s crippling hurricanes.
Indeed, the island has seen a rebirth in its aviation network and airports (with new airports on the way), while hotels and villas have also bounced back significantly.
“With the return of traditional hotels, resorts and villas – along with the strong growth of sharing platforms – we are pleased with this validation by Airbnb,” Nicholson-Doty said in a statement.
Of course, the island’s hotels have returned in strong numbers, from boutique hotels like The Fred in Frederiksted to the signature Buccaneer in St Croix to the iconic Bolongo Bay in St Thomas.