A new report claims that Airbnb has generated tens of thousands of jobs in the UK and enables people to work near or in their home rather than move away.
In a bid to shift the dial on the short lets controversy - which some believe forces people out of their local communities due to a shortage of long-term accommodation - research for Airbnb claims that the platform boosted the UK economy by £2.9 billion last year.
“Our analysis found that Airbnb makes a substantial contribution to the UK economy, by enabling locals to offer visitor accommodation, attracting travellers and encouraging tourists to visit lesser known cities and rural areas. The spending of these visitors supports jobs and businesses across the country, and the income received by hosts generates significant economic benefits as it is also often spent in local economies” says Graeme Blackett, managing director of BiGGAR Economics, the firm which undertook the research.
Last year, over half of Airbnb guests said they took up their host’s recommendation of a local business or place to visit.
The report claims that stays booked on the platform supported over 107,000 jobs in the UK last year across a diverse range of sectors, ranging from local bakeries to cosy pubs, cleaners, and tour guides.
Specifically it says money spent by Airbnb guests and hosts in the local community supported 15,100 jobs in Scotland; 22,500 in London; 7,500 in the north west of England; 4,300 in the West Midlands; and 17,800 in the south west.
“We’re proud that we help millions of guests discover the magic that Britain has to offer, enable everyday people to earn additional income from sharing their homes, and support more than 100,000 British jobs. Short term lets are a key pillar of the UK’s tourism economy, and Airbnb supports the introduction of rules that protect tourism, unlock the benefits of hosting for families, and help local authorities understand and address housing concerns in their communities” adds Amanda Cupples, Airbnb’s general manager for Northern Europe.
A statement from the platform says: “Airbnb helps to disperse the benefits of tourism all over the country by partnering with cities for major events, benefiting local economies and communities. For instance, our collaborations with the West Midlands and Liverpool boosted tourism, and put money in the pockets of local people, businesses and communities.
“… Airbnb directly supports local people who host on the platform, with up to 97 per cent of what they charge landing in their pockets. As winter approaches and energy bills increase, the economic boost provided by Airbnb, both to hosts and local communities, is more important than ever.”
Airbnb claims the typical UK host earns just over £6,000 a year – equivalent to two months additional pay for the median UK household - and it adds that with one in four UK Hosts working in either education, healthcare or hospitality this is an increasingly vital income boost for everyday families in tough times.