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Internet companies’ job creating technologies encourage innovation and a competitive marketplace. The utilization of online platforms to promote the sharing economy increases consumer choice and fosters competition. One example is Airbnb, an online platform connecting people with a space to spare with those seeking a place to stay.  Airbnb generates jobs and economic growth for cities around the world, adding billions of dollars to local economies. To date, Airbnb hosts have welcomed over 11 million travelers who wanted to experience cities not as tourists, but as locals.  This sharing economy startup, boasts more than 550,000 homes shared, recently released a report detailing their strong contribution to local economies.

The report documented that over 80 percent of Airbnb hosts rent out their primary residence, and almost 50 percent use the money they earn to help pay their rent or mortgage.  But this is not an arrangement that solely benefits those renting out rooms and couches.  The study demonstrates the “spillover effect” on local economies – because Airbnb lodging can be less expensive than many hotels, visitors tend to stay longer and spend 46 percent more at local establishments than they would have otherwise.

It’s been said there is no substitute for local knowledge and the Internet is a great enabler of all things local.  Nine-in-ten Airbnb users surveyed said they are looking to travel like a “local.”  With the vast majority of rentals falling outside of hotel property districts, visitors get a chance to spend quality time and half of their tourism dollars in desired neighborhoods.

This is why Airbnb has shaken up the temporary housing sector, for the better, in cities like New York, San Francisco, Paris, London, Barcelona and Sydney.  It continues to offer a community-based model, more affordable prices, and a superior user experience.  

Airbnb is a company that should be welcomed by business and government leaders hungry for a boost in local tourism and jobs for their community. Internet start-ups are not only changing the future of travel, but are also driving growth and job creation in cities all over the world.  The contributions of Airbnb and Internet companies like them exemplifies why cities must position themselves as forward-thinking, pro-technology communities that put consumers first. We must ensure that outdated regulations that block the Internet economy are updated for our modern age.  The Internet enables increased consumer choice, competition, and allows companies like Airbnb to operate and grow in metro areas across the world.