Osceola County among top Airbnb vacation rental markets in Florida

Airbnb hosts in Florida welcomed more than 4.5 million guests to the state in 2018, and a good portion of those visitors stayed in Osceola County.

The vacation rental platform announced Tuesday that Osceola County homeowners hosted 640,000 guests last year and earned $82.6 million. Osceola County came in second behind Miami-Dade County, which hosted 954,000 guests and earned $204 million.

Osceola County surpassed other Central Florida counties by huge margins, including Orange, which earned $40 million through 338,000 guests; Lake, which earned $6.5 million through 49,000 guests; and Seminole, which earned $2.7 million through 22,000 guests.

In total, Airbnb says Floridian homeowners earned $810 million. The vacation rental platform reports over 45,000 hosts who share their homes in Florida typically earn about $6,500 annually in supplemental income.

Statewide data indicates that Airbnb and its host community appear to be complementing – rather than competing with – the Florida hotel industry," Airbnb says in a statement. "The most recent state-commissioned report demonstrates that Florida hotel occupancy rates, daily prices and revenue have grown steadily even as local hosts welcomed millions of guests. This suggests that vacation rentals are opening up the state to a new slice of prospective tourists by catering to travelers less able to afford hotels, those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels, and families who prefer to be together under one roof."

Airbnb released its report the same day as Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he would target the company over their decision against listing properties in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. DeSantis said Tuesday that the State Board of Administration would determine if Airbnb is subject to a new Florida law that prohibits state investment in companies that boycott Israel.

In a statement to the News Service of Florida, Airbnb said it "unequivocally rejected" the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or "BDS," a Palestinian-led movement boycotting Israel.

"We have worked with the Florida State Board of Administration on this matter, we remain committed to the more than 45,000 Airbnb hosts in Florida who share their homes with over 4.5 million visitors, and we’ll continue to do all we can to support our community," Airbnb told NSF in a statement.

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