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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Airbnb used in rural counties to 'make ends meet'

Rural Affairs Minister Heather Humphreys Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Rural Affairs Minister Heather Humphreys Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Gráinne Loughrane

Almost half of Airbnb hosts in rural Ireland say they are providing accommodation to "make ends meet".

Airbnb customers contributed an estimated €74m to Ireland's rural economy over the past year, according to a new report.

'Home-sharing: empowering rural and regional Ireland' was launched by Rural Affairs Minister Heather Humphreys in her Monaghan constituency.

The report shows how €27m was earned directly by the hosts of Airbnb guests outside of Dublin between September 2015 and August 2016, while an estimated €47m was contributed to regional businesses as a result of increased footfall.

However 44pc of hosts said that they are providing Airbnb accommodation "to make ends meet".

Elizabeth McGuinness runs an Airbnb from her home in Milltown, Monaghan.

When she started a year ago there was only one other Airbnb in Monaghan, now there are 27.

"Airbnb has allowed people who are on their knees to give them an income. There would be people renting rooms just to get a bit of money," she said.

"We send business to other businesses in Monaghan. I take people to the restaurants and the pubs and money goes around the community. Everyone will go to the cities, but this opens up rural Ireland."

The report detailed that 331,000 guests used Airbnb for accommodation in the homes of 6,000 hosts across the country, providing them with an average additional income of €2,700 per household.

Ms Humphreys said: "The benefit of the Airbnb model is that it can bring new visitors to remote locations."

Irish Independent

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