Last week, Airbnb announced that they would be opening their digital doors to Cuba, allowing American tourists to book lodging from local hosts with over 1,000 listings. Great! But in Cuba, this new business model might just be a throwback to straight hustling.

According to Skift, much of the listings are “casas particulares,” meaning privately owned homes that are kind of like bed and breakfasts. But over half of the listings from Cuba's “local micro-entrepreneurs,” as Airbnb describes them, are actually managed by five people:

Michael is responsible for 232 listings, Jorge has 172 listings, Fatima manages 148 listings, Luis lists 86 options, and Raul has 51.

Hm. Are there really only five people in all of Cuba who are able to host lodgers? Airbnb claims that many available hosts have limited Internet access, so it’s easier to maneuver the online Airbnb website and business through "hosting partners." Which seems totally reasonable, but most of these hosting partners, who own some property in Cuba, live abroad. For example, Jorge—he of the 172 listings—lives in Switzerland. Renting from him isn't exactly supporting Cuba's "micro-entrepreneurs."


Flygirl is Jezebel's new travel blog dedicated to adventures big and small, tips and tricks for navigation, and exploring the world at large.

Image via Airbnb.