Airbnb Inc. guest stays near Jones Beach have quintupled over the past two years, far outpacing the home-sharing service’s growth on Long Island and statewide, according to company data.
An Airbnb study from 2014 to 2016 found a 522 percent increase in guests to 19,900 within a 15-mile radius of Jones Beach State Park. That compares to a 229 percent increase to 73,900 on Long Island overall and a 122 percent increase in New York State to 2 million.
The growth in Airbnb’s business around Jones Beach could be blunted by a new law passed by the Town Board of Hempstead, which includes Jones Beach State Park. On Tuesday, the board took aim at Airbnb and similar home-sharing services, voting unanimously to ban rentals under 28 days. The legislation carries a $1,000 fine for first-time violators. Airbnb, with a reported valuation of more than $25 billion, has been seeking to parry municipal regulations that threaten to curb its business model.
Andrew Kalloch, a public policy lawyer for Airbnb, called the action by the Town of Hempstead “devastating for local families who rely on home sharing to earn extra money and bad for local businesses.”
The San Francisco company’s survey suggested at least part of the growth in the area around Jones Beach came from guests’ keen interest in outdoor activities, Kalloch said.
“Both native New Yorkers and tourists from across the country and around the world use Airbnb to travel in and around the Empire State, with one-third of these guests citing outdoor recreation as a primary reason for their trip,” he said.
The Jones Beach area also led Long Island and New York State in growth in the number of hosts, according to the Airbnb data.
In 2016 there were 490 hosts near Jones Beach who had recorded at least one guest stay, up 277 percent from 2014. That compared to increases of 150 percent for Long Island and 63 percent for New York State.
Kalloch said that Airbnb’s growth is due in part to a broader demographic base of users and hosts.
He said there was a time when 9-year-old Airbnb was seen as a service “just for young people.”
These days, he said, “you can get everything from a sofa to a castle,” and hosts use the income for everything from paying off student debt to supplementing retirement income.
Jones Beach and seven other New York state parks — Niagara Reservation, Saratoga Spa, Bear Mountain, Green Lakes, Watkins Glen, Letchworth and the Allegany Red House Area — were profiled in an Airbnb report that found guest stays within a 15-mile radius of the parks were up 420 percent from 2014 to 2016.
The growth in Airbnb guest stays also dwarfed the overall growth in attendance at New York State parks, historic sites and campgrounds, which climbed 11.8 percent from 2014 to 69.3 million visitors in 2016.
Eighty-eight-year-old Jones Beach State Park sits on a barrier island and covers about 2,400 acres.