Airbnb launches new ‘Community Tourism Programme’

2017-06-17 18:00
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Cape Town - Airbnb says it's new multi-million euro ‘Community Tourism Programme’ will back innovative local projects to boost community tourism that supports local families

Sharing new data on Thursday 15 June, the share-economy accommodation platform say travel using Airbnb is expected to boost communities in Europe by an estimated €340 billion (about R5 trillion at R12.80/$) of economic output by 2020, and will support an estimated 1 million jobs across the region in 2020.

'A tool to help bridge social divides'

The announcement comes after Chris Lehane, Airbnb Global Head of Public Policy and Public Affairs, spoke at the OECD Forum last week on how travel using Airbnb can be a tool to help bridge social divides and boost benefits for communities.

“More people are staying with each other using Airbnb in Europe than anywhere else on earth,” said Lehane. “It is a healthy and sustainable form of tourism that ensures benefits stay right here in Europe and are enjoyed by many - not kept in the hands of a few.”

When guests travel using Airbnb, local hosts keep 97 percent of the accommodation charge and more than half of guest spending takes place in the communities where they stay - places local residents call home. The typical host on Airbnb in Europe made €2,400 by sharing their space for 27 nights last year.

The ‘Community Tourism Programme’

To help support the growth of healthy people-to-people tourism that benefits communities, Airbnb is today launching the ‘Community Tourism Programme’ with the aim of investing €5 million in projects that use innovation to help preserve and boost the best of local customs, traditions and landmarks that make communities unique. 

The fund will be available to organisations - including charities, non-profit agencies and community social groups - in need of financial support for innovative local projects.

“We want to work with communities to help boost and preserve the qualities that make them unique,” added Lehane. “Airbnb has a long history of supporting progressive local initiatives that boost communities and bring people together, and we’re excited to continue that tradition here in Europe.” 

Bringing communities together

The new data also highlights how travel on Airbnb is helping bring communities together and in 2020, an estimated 24 million stays between hosts and guests from different countries across Europe will take place using Airbnb.

Communities are strongest when they are shared and people welcome each other,” continued Lehane. “In the face of growing political uncertainty, it’s important the world continues to come together.

“I firmly believe there is a special responsibility for platforms and technology companies to project the principles their communities hold dear. We see it as our duty and privilege to continue working with communities and leaders in Europe and across the world to help support local families, boost communities and use technology to help bring people together.”

SEE: Airbnb's R2.4bn SA economy boost: A look at the year that was

There is no indication at this point if the Community Tourism Programme will be extended beyond Europe. 

According to an overview of the Airbnb community in South Africa for 2016, released to coincide with the Tourism Indaba taking place in Durban in May,  Airbnb travel injected an estimated R2.4 billion boost into SA's economy. 

According to Nicola D'Elia, managing director for Africa and the Middle East at Airbnb, the numbers are a clear indication "that Airbnb supports regular South Africans to share their home while growing and diversifying the tourism industry across the country”. 

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