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Airbnb business on Long Island surges in 2016, company says

Noushin Kiai, of Great Neck, illustrates how she

Noushin Kiai, of Great Neck, illustrates how she prepares a room for a new tenant April 5, 2016. Credit: Chris Ware

Airbnb Inc. reported that business on Long Island boomed in 2016, according to data released Monday by the home-sharing website.

The San Francisco-based service reported a 57.4 percent year-over-year surge in guests on Long Island, to 74,000, and a 60.3 percent increase in Long Island host revenue, to $25 million.

The median income in 2016 for Long Island hosts was $9,800, the company said.

“More and more Long Island residents are discovering home sharing as an opportunity to share their community with visitors from around the world and earn a little extra money along the way,” Josh Meltzer, Airbnb’s head of New York public policy, said in a statement.

Ken Walles, president of the Long Island Hospitality and Leisure Association, said that Airbnb properties draw guests away from traditional hotels and motels but escape the 3 percent hotel occupancy tax that traditional lodging businesses pay in both Suffolk and Nassau counties.

“There’s definitely an impact,” he said. “When you throw in Airbnb availability, it’s going to dilute hotel properties.”

The number of Long Island Airbnb hosts, who rent out part or all of their houses or apartments, climbed from 1,500 in 2015 to 2,400 in 2016, the company said.

The increase in business comes despite efforts by several Long Island municipalities, including Islip Town and Southold Town, to ban or regulate short-term rentals like those facilitated by Airbnb. In October, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill banning the advertising of short-stay lodging in New York City.

In January, Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources close to Airbnb, reported that the company became profitable for the first time in the second half of 2016. Airbnb, founded in 2008, makes money by taking a percentage of each rental transaction.

In New York State overall, 48,600 Airbnb hosts had more than 2 million guests, the company said.

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