Post-pandemic, Airbnb brings boost to Florida’s rural counties too

Minsk, Belarus. May, 2019. Travel around the world with Airbnb. Logo Airbnb and the city on the background. Home concept. Popular rent company.
Many towns have welcomed their first Airbnb guests following the COVID-19 pandemic.

People aren’t just staying in Airbnbs in the Miami hot spots or near Disney World.

The company said Thursday a growing number of people are opting to visit the rural parts of the state. The Airbnb hosts in some of the least populated parts of Florida earned more than $100 million in 2021, according to the company.

The rural stays are another way tourism and travel have been changed by the pandemic, according to Airbnb.

Airbnb released data that showed some counties’ hosts earned several thousands of dollars on the booking platform last year while for others, tourism was a big enough force to generate millions.

For instance, hosts in Franklin County earned $5 million for offering places to stay in the county that’s located along the Gulf of Mexico and has a population less than 15,000 people.

In Monroe County, where the county seat is Key West — where so many visit but only about 75,000 people are residents — Airbnb hosts earned $92 million last year.

Hosts in Bradford County, located between Gainesville and Jacksonville with a population under 30,000, earned $150,000.

And hosts in Hardee County, which has under 30,000 people in the central part of the state, booked $30,000 of earnings for Airbnb stays.

Some of these places were previously under the radar when it came to travel. Since the pandemic began, 26 Florida cities and towns received their first-ever Airbnb guest, the company said.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon, according to the homeshare company.

“The best illustration of how travel has transformed during the pandemic can be found in the many thousands of towns across the world that have welcomed their first Airbnb guests,” the company said in a press release. “Since March 2020, globally, more than 8,100 cities and towns have received their first-ever Airbnb bookings — including over 1,300 in the U.S. and Airbnb guests have already planned stays in over 72,000 cities and towns this summer.”

Airbnb released the full list of how much hosts in Florida’s rural counties earned in 2021:

— Bradford: $150,000

— Calhoun: $70,000

— Columbia: $1 million

— DeSoto: $150,000

— Dixie: $400,000

— Franklin: $5 million

— Glades: $200,000

— Hamilton: $60,000

— Hardee: $30,000

— Hendry: $340,000

— Holmes: $30,000

— Jackson: $135,000

— Lafayette: $365,000

— Levy: $2 million

— Liberty: $25,000

— Madison: $70,000

— Monroe: $92 million

— Okeechobee: $360,000

— Putnam: $1.5 million

— Suwanee: $800,000

— Taylor: $753,683

— Union: $73,186

— Washington: $50,000

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


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