Northern Ireland is Airbnb’s fastest growing UK destination
Belfast may have witnessed a flurry of new hotel openings over the last year, but more than 130,000 visitors opted to stay in people's houses.
The website Airbnb, which connects travellers with people across the globe who want to rent out their property - or even just a room - to visitors has proved a massive hit with travellers to Northern Ireland, with the region now the site's fastest growing destination in the UK.
Airbnb says its figures show there have been 132,000 guest arrivals booked through Airbnb since July 2016.
The statistics come in Airbnb's first UK Insight Report.
Figures show that the Airbnb community generated an estimated £53m for local residents in Northern Ireland.
Airbnb said that Northern Ireland represented the UK's fastest growing Airbnb visitor destination in the last year, with 132,000 guests contributing to a 144% growth rate.
Meanwhile, across the rest of the UK there has been inbound guest growth for Airbnb of some 81% since July 2016, generating an estimated £3.46bn for local residents.
The UK has continued to grow as a destination on Airbnb with inbound guest growth of 81% spread across all 12 regions.
James McClure, general manager for Northern Europe, said properties on their books include a huge range from apartments to treehouses, all across the world, and offer a unique break for visitors.
"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," he said.
"From Exeter to Edinburgh, millennials to seniors, apartments to tree houses, there's something for everyone on Airbnb and locals have helped countless global guests feel at home."
Mr McClure added: "Hosts are ambassadors for their neighbourhoods and we look forward to seeing guests discover more unique, diverse and welcoming communities across the UK."