LONDON (Reuters) - Airbnb has seen an 80 percent jump in visitors to Britain in the last year, the home rental firm said on Monday, as travellers pour in to the country to take advantage of the weaker pound.
The company said the growth in inbound visitors to the United Kingdom using its platform was 81 percent between July 2016 and July 2017, taking visitor numbers to 5.9 million and generating 3.46 billion pounds ($4.6 billion) for the economy.
Airbnb said the country was its fifth largest home-sharing community in terms of numbers of listings.
“The UK continues to break records on Airbnb - both as a world-leading destination, and for the benefits that hosting generates for local families and their communities,” James McClure, general manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said in a statement.
Official figures show tourism to Britain has been rising, helped by a drop in the pound since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016.
Britain received the highest number of foreign visitors ever in the second quarter, while Heathrow, Europe’s largest airport, on Monday reported a record August.
Airbnb has shaken up the market for travel accommodation, and competes with hotels by allowing people to rent out their homes or apartments, either in full or as part of a house-share.
Its rise has not been without controversy.
The firm has clashed with authorities in Barcelona over whether it enforces regulations to prevent crowds from overwhelming the city.
There have also been disputes in other cities such as Berlin and Paris that claim it deprives locals of accommodation for permanent rent and hikes rental prices.
London has reached 64,000 active listings, Airbnb said. In December, it introduced a new rule to block hosts from renting out homes in the British capital for more than 90 days in a year, a move welcomed by the mayor of London.
($1 = 0.7577 pounds)
Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Mark Potter