Airbnb Brazil arrivals more than double to one million with 2016 Olympics

A man walks past a logo of Airbnb after a news conference in Tokyo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Online room renting service Airbnb Inc registered more than 1 million guest arrivals in Brazil last year, boosted by travel to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and a growing number of hosts looking for extra income in a deep recession.

Leonardo Trist?o, Airbnb’s general manager in the country, noted the benchmark in a statement on Monday, marking a sharp pickup from the country’s roughly 421,000 arrivals in 2015 and about 622,000 arrivals in the twelve months through June.

The market got a boost in August, when more than 85,000 guests arrived in Rio alone during the three-week Olympic Games, whose organizers designated Airbnb an official provider of accommodation. Brazil’s worst downturn on record has also raised unemployment, pushing more people to seek income from hosting.

The company previously reported 80 million arrivals globally in 2016, up from 40 million in 2015.

Trist?o also announced the arrival of travel services known as Trips in the Rio and Sao Paulo markets in June, in a push to diversify revenue from lodging into other tourist activities.

(Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Marguerita Choy)