Spreading the Benefits of Tourism Beyond Big Cities

Two Airbnb hosts stand in the middle of the road in Kamaishi, Japan.

From making it easier for travelers to explore off-the-beaten path destinations, to empowering locals to become hospitality entrepreneurs by monetizing their spaces and passions, Airbnb is helping communities beyond big cities keep the financial benefits of tourism close to home.

Take the example of Kamaishi, Japan – a small city known for its iron and fishing industry, and rugby fandom. Devastated by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the Kamaishi community came together to rebuild the city over the past eight years. In 2019, they were awarded the honor of being a host city for the largest rugby tournament in the world. With a new spotlight on their city, the people of Kamaishi are turning to tourism as a way to further revitalize the city, share their culture and traditions, and make connections with guests from across the world.

One major way they’re able to do that is by tapping into Airbnb’s global community of travelers. Over the course of the tournament, Airbnb guest arrivals around Kamaishi increased by 180 percent*.

Here are more examples of other communities, policymakers and hospitality entrepreneurs who are tapping into Airbnb’s global marketplace to expand the benefits of tourism in their areas.

Portrait of the Mayor of Kamaishi.

Airbnb in Asia Pacific: Empowering Travel Beyond Big Cities

November 14, 2019

Travel beyond big cities is on the rise in Asia Pacific, with emerging destinations surging in popularity on Airbnb faster than typical urban tourism hotspots. And Airbnb hosts earned $24 million during big events in emerging cities in the past year.

Two men pose next to their bikes in South Africa.

Hosts from across South Africa Take Center Stage in Airbnb Exhibition

October 30, 2019

Airbnb launched a photographic exhibition in Johannesburg – shining a spotlight on South African entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities that haven’t traditionally benefited from tourism.

Milwaukee downtown skyline with buildings along the Milwaukee River.

20 for 2020: Airbnb Reveals the 20 Destinations to Visit Next Year

October 9, 2019

Ranging from post-industrial culture hubs like Milwaukee and Guadalajara to emerging destinations that are benefiting from an increase in sustainable tourism, this year’s list is full of surprises and hidden gems.

A bike is parked on a sidewalk in Copenhagen.

Airbnb in Copenhagen: 3 out of 4 Guests Stay Outside the City Centre

September 23, 2019

From August 2018 to July 2019, over 75 percent of guests on Airbnb to Copenhagen stayed outside the city center administrative district Indre By**, demonstrating how Airbnb contributes to tourism kroner being spent in districts across the city.

A group of friends are greeted by their hosts at their Airbnb listing.

Setting a New Bar for Belonging With Our Biggest Night Ever

August 14, 2019

There have been more than half a billion guest arrivals in Airbnb listings since the company was founded. In 2011, 40 percent of all Airbnb guest arrivals took place in our 10 largest cities. So far in 2019, roughly 92 percent of all guest arrivals have occurred outside of these 10 largest cities***.

A man wearing a backpack walks down a stone staircase on a warm day.

Off the Beaten Track Destinations in APAC Experiencing Explosive Airbnb Growth

May 9, 2019

At the PATA Annual Summit in the Philippines, Airbnb announced new data that highlights how the Airbnb community is growing tourism in off-the-beaten-track destinations across Asia Pacific, and helping to disperse the benefits of tourism beyond big cities and major tourism hotspots.

A crowd watches watches a panel discussion at the Igualada New Destinations Summit.

Airbnb Hosts Global Summit on Healthy Tourism in Communities with Little Travel Infrastructure

May 9, 2019

International policymakers and global tourism experts have gathered at Airbnb’s first ‘New Destinations Summit’ on building sustainable tourism models in communities with no – or a few – hotels.

A man tends to his plants in a field of sunflowers in Italy.

Meet the Hosts Breathing New Life Into an Italian Village

January 14, 2019

Meet some of the incredible hosts that are the linchpin behind Airbnb’s Italian Sabbatical, including Rocco (a hair stylist, saffron producer, beekeeper and Experience host on Airbnb,) Andrea (Founder of Wonder Grottole, architect and Home host on Airbnb) and Giuseppe and Vincenzo (olive oil producers and Experience hosts on Airbnb).

Speakers on a panel discuss tourism on stage at the Africa Travel Summit.

Learnings from the Africa Travel Summit

December 11, 2018

The Africa Travel Summit was convened by Airbnb’s Office of Healthy Tourism, an initiative launched in April 2018 to drive community-based, authentic, sustainable tourism in cities and communities across the globe.

A wooden house overlooks a foggy valley in the mountains of Guilin.

Airbnb and Guilin Municipal Government Work to Empower Rural Communities

November 9, 2018

In October 2017, Airbnb and the Guilin Municipal Government Tourism Development Committee signed a strategic partnership agreement to promote rural empowerment. This partnership aims to explore how Airbnb-style home sharing can support low-income families by helping local villagers increase their income through home sharing as a key source of revenue.

Stars and mars are visible in the night sky over an Airbnb listing.

Stargazing is the New Healthy Travel Tend Empowering Communities

July 18, 2018

Travelers looking for the best destinations on the planet to stargaze are growing year after year. Astro-tourism is an environmentally-friendly, authentic and sustainable way to travel that can economically empower lesser-known, rural communities.

Two surfers in wet suits laugh in the water as they wait for the next big wave.

Airbnb Brings Healthy Travel to Surf Communities Around the World

May 24, 2018

Places to crash near the best waves can be hard to come by. As surfers and fans of the sport know, many of the world’s premier surfing destinations lie beyond traditional tourist hotspots and hotel districts.

*Based on internal Stays guest arrival data for Iwate Prefecture, Sept. 2019 – Nov. 2019 vs. Sept. 2018 – Nov. 2018.

**Based on internal Stays guest arrival data for Aug. 1 2018 – July 31 2019 in the 10 official administrative districts of Copenhagen (Indre By (city center), Vesterbro/Kongens Enghave, Nørrebro, Østerbro, Amager Øst, Amager Vest, Valby, Bispebjerg, Vanløse and Brønshøj-Husum,) and Frederiksberg. 

***Based on internal Stays guest arrival data for Jan. 1 2011 – Dec. 31 2011 and Jan 1, 2019 – July 1 2019, respectively.