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Jared Meyer, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, sat down with Joe Kent to discuss the positive impacts of Airbnb as part of the Grassroot Institute with Dr. Keli’i Akina, a radio show on KAOI 1110AM Maui and KKNE 940AM Oahu.

“Airbnb is an online platform that allows people with extra space to find someone who they can rent it out to — either on a short term or long term basis,” explained Jared, “Now it’s just easier than ever before, and that’s why the service is growing so rapidly.”

Currently, legislation is aiming to hinder Airbnb in Hawaii. In fact, some lawmakers claim that it’s harmful to Hawaii’s economy. “Politicians, we saw this in California, they try to blame Airbnb for high rent, when rent has been skyrocketing since long before Airbnb started to gain popularity. But they’re looking for anyone to blame besides themselves,” said Jared, “I argue that it’s actually the politicians to blame for these housing shortages… because they’ve put in place such restrictions on new constructions, or rentals, or even owning a home, that it’s become really impossible in a lot of cities for working class families to afford rent. If anything, Airbnb gives families another chance to make some money so they can make some mortgage or rent payments.”

While Airbnb gives families the opportunity to bring in more income, it may also increase tourism in the state of Hawaii, which goes hand-in-hand with increased revenue. “I would argue, in general, the people who are staying at Airbnb are not the same people who are going to stay at… a high end Hilton on Maui. Instead, it might be people who couldn’t travel before because a vacation to Hawaii wasn’t an option for them. But now, when they can find a place to stay… all the sudden a Hawaii vacation looks like a possibility,” explained Jared.

Listen to the full interview here: