Airbnb launches global Office of Healthy Tourism

  • Airbnb announces new initiative to drive tourism that benefits local communities
  • New data highlights the positive socioeconomic impact of hosting in India
  • The company has formed an advisory board of global tourism and policy experts

India – April 18, 2018 – Today, Airbnb launched the “Office of Healthy Tourism”, a global initiative to drive local, authentic and sustainable tourism in countries and cities across the globe. Along with the launch of the Office, Airbnb is also releasing data that shows the benefits of healthy tourism for hosts, guests and cities around the world, as well as announcing the creation of its new Tourism Advisory Board, which will be made up of travel industry leaders from around the world.  

Since the company was founded 10 years ago, travelers have discovered new destinations and neighborhoods off the typical tourist path, bringing the economic benefits of tourism to small businesses and local residents around the world. Building off of this work through partnerships, programs and events, Airbnb will expand its efforts to economically empower communities, drive travel to lesser-known places, and support environmentally-friendly travel habits with the Office of Healthy Tourism.

“With travel and tourism growing faster than most of the rest of economy, it is critical that as many people as possible are benefiting – and right now not all tourism is created equal. To democratize the benefits of travel, Airbnb offers a healthy alternative to the mass travel that has plagued cities for decades,” says Airbnb’s Global Head of Policy and Communications, Chris Lehane.

Airbnb’s Office of Healthy Tourism

Airbnb has already embarked on a number of initiatives to promote Healthy Tourism around the world, including rural regeneration projects in Japan and China’s countryside. The company also helps communities scale accommodations to host big events in a sustainable way. During the most recent Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, 15,000 guests stayed in an Airbnb for the event — the equivalent of adding 7,500 hotel rooms. Collectively, hosts in the region earned over $2.3 million, ensuring that the money stays in the country with local residents in the area.

In India, our efforts have focused on promoting tourism in areas that have not traditionally benefited from tourism and hospitality. We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of our groundbreaking partnership with the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), which empowers self-employed women in India’s rural areas to pursue new livelihoods by sharing their homes on Airbnb. The initiative has now expanded beyond Gujarat to Northeast India, where we are working with SEWA to train new members on home sharing, hospitality and quality standards, as well as responsible hosting practices.

Most recently, we announced MoUs for strategic partnerships with the North Eastern Council (NEC), the North East Tourism Development Council (NETDC) and two key livelihood initiatives, North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP) and North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Society (NERCRMS), to boost tourism in the North East and help low-income families monetize their existing assets through home sharing.

The Office of Healthy Tourism will continue to help bring the economic benefits of tourism to areas that want to welcome more travelers into their communities in a locally sensitive, sustainable way.

Airbnb Releases New Data Showing Positive Impact in India

Today, the company is releasing 2017 data for its top 300 cities and 80 countries, as part of a commitment to transparency with local governments, that demonstrates the benefits of healthy tourism.

Our data in India shows that:

  • India is home to a vibrant community of hosts who welcomed travelers from 152 countries into their homes and communities.
  • In India, the typical host earned USD 746 (INR 48,750), providing meaningful income for regular people and families.
  • More than 1 million inbound and outbound travellers used Airbnb in 2017. Our hosts in India welcomed nearly 480,000 guests last year, and 737,000 guests traveled from India to other destinations, creating offline connections across borders and cultures.
  • One year since the launch of our groundbreaking partnership with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA),
    • The number of SEWA hosts sharing their homes on Airbnb has more than doubled with our hosts welcoming 260 guests and earning over INR 5.5 lakh in combined income.
    • We currently have 21 SEWA Homes in Gujarat, and 16 SEWA Homes in Sikkim.
    • The partnership enjoys strong support from women across India: 60% of SEWA guests are women and close to 87% are domestic guests.
    • 66% of SEWA guests are aged between 18-39 years.
    • Top 5 countries by overseas guest arrivals: U.S., The Netherlands, UK, Canada, Italy

The company also released new data on how the Airbnb community supports healthy tourism worldwide:

  • 84% of guests said they decided to use Airbnb because they wanted to live like a local, and 66% of guests said the environmental benefits of home sharing were important in their choice of Airbnb.
  • 89% of guests said that they chose Airbnb because it was more conveniently located throughout the city than hotels, and 44% of guest spending happens in the neighborhoods where they stay.
  • 53% of guests spent the money they saved using Airbnb at businesses in the cities and neighborhoods they visited.
  • 88% of Airbnb hosts around the world incorporate green practices into hosting, such as using green cleaning products, providing recycling, encouraging guests to use public transportation, and installing solar panels.

Airbnb’s Tourism Advisory Board Announced

Promoting healthy, sustainable tourism is particularly important as the tourism industry grows. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel industry supports 313 million jobs and generates 10% of the world’s GDP. The company has formed a Tourism Advisory Board to help shape the company’s long-term vision and activities to ensure that Airbnb is a solution to the overtourism caused by mass travel.

The Tourism Advisory Board includes global tourism thought and policy leaders who have set the tone for this dialogue in their years in the industry:

  • David Scowsill, Chief Executive of EON Reality Inc. and former President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council
  • Taleb Rifai, the former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization
  • Rosette Rugamba, Managing Director of Songa Africa and Amakoro Lodge and former Director General of Rwanda Tourism
  • Professor the Hon Bob Carr, the former Foreign Affairs Minister for Australia and former Premier of New South Wales

“As India continues to grow as a global tourist destination, our strong numbers reflect an increasing desire for local, unique and authentic travel,” said Nayana RenuKumar, Airbnb Head of Public Policy for India.Airbnb is committed to creating and empowering hospitality micro-entrepreneurs, and building a robust home sharing ecosystem that enables locals to open their homes and share our rich cultural heritage.

“We are incredibly proud to have some of the foremost leaders in the travel industry joining our Tourism Advisory Board. These are leaders with impeccable credentials, and we look forward to working with them to build on our ongoing partnerships with SEWA and local provincial governments — toward promoting healthy and sustainable tourism across India and around the world.”