How Airbnb is advancing sustainable tourism

Airbnb Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs Chris Lehane released a new report about how the platform can drive healthy tourism – tourism that is sustainable, diversified and local – in communities around the world. Presented at the Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth with UNWTO, the Government of Jamaica, and the World Bank Group, the report provides governments and NGOs with a roadmap for tapping into the potential of our people-to-people platform, and ensures the economic benefits of tourism are seen by people and places that have not traditionally benefited.

Growth in international tourist arrivals in emerging economies is twice as high as in developed economies, at 4.4% per year versus 2.2%, and by 2030, more than 1 billion travelers will arrive in emerging economies annually.

By 2030, Airbnb expects that over 400 million guests will have used the platform to arrive at emerging economies since the company was founded. These guests will have been welcomed by over 28 million hosts, who keep up to 97% of their earnings through Airbnb.

Travelers use Airbnb to unlock unique and authentic experiences, often off the beaten path, with the help of their local hosts. With up to 50% of guests’ spending happening in the neighborhoods where they stay, rural and underserved communities outside of traditional hotel districts have an opportunity to share in the benefits of growing interest in tourism.

photo courtesy of SEWA

To help foster this trend, Airbnb has partnered with various cross-sector organizations and governments, including the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), the largest organization of informal women workers in the world and the largest non-profit in India. As part of the partnership, Airbnb trains SEWA members on home sharing, hospitality and quality standards, as well as responsible hosting practices. Through the initiative, SEWA members hope to share their local culture and way of life with both international and domestic visitors. Airbnb and SEWA have listed 18 SEWA homes on the Airbnb platform since the initiative started last fall, with additional homes scheduled to come online this year.

“By partnering with Airbnb, we hope to create meaningful, productive and sustainable livelihood opportunities through the     new age economy for our 2 million women members across 14 states of India.”


Together, with continued cross-sector collaboration, we will help hosts in underserved communities share their homes with Airbnb’s community of international guests.