New Airbnb partnership empowers rural Indian women

A new Airbnb partnership with the Self Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), an organization representing 2 million self-employed women living mostly in India’s rural areas, will empower its members to pursue new livelihoods by sharing their homes on the Airbnb platform.

Through our agreement with SEWA, Airbnb will train SEWA members on home sharing, hospitality and quality standards as well as responsible hosting practices. Our shared goal is for the training to build a strong community of SEWA hosts who can learn from one another, constantly improve hosting standards, and together create a more welcoming environment for Indian women in hospitality.

Our shared goal is for the training to build a strong community of SEWA hosts who can learn from one another

The partnership also will give the new women hosts exposure to Airbnb’s global community of guests through the Airbnb platform, and help promote tourism in parts of India that traditionally have not benefited from it. “The partnership is an important step in Airbnb’s commitment to enable economic empowerment for female entrepreneurs and promote digital inclusion in rural areas,” said Thao Nguyen, Airbnb’s Director of Policy Partnerships, Asia Pacific. “Our mission is to democratize travel and through the partnership, we can help promote economic opportunities across diverse communities, help revitalize the rural economy and help prevent distress migration to urban areas, particularly among women and the youth.”

The partnership with SEWA is also is the latest in a series of Airbnb agreements across the Asia-Pacific region to promote rural tourism, including in Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The SEWA initiative will begin in the Indian state of Gujarat, one of 14 states across which the partnership extends, and eventually expand to the other 13 states that have a significant presence of SEWA members.

The partnership is an important step in Airbnb’s commitment to enable economic empowerment for female entrepreneurs

“Gujarat is an important market for Airbnb. Today’s partnership, along with our recent MoU with the Government of Gujarat, signals our commitment to work with local stakeholders to build a model of home sharing that contributes to the local community,” said Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb India Country Manager.

“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, especially the young members who would benefit tremendously from digital inclusion,” said SEWA Director Reema Nanavaty. “Through the partnership, we will help our members become powerful micro-entrepreneurs, best placed to promote sustainable and responsible tourism in India and bridge the gap between urban and rural communities by exposing them to the rural way of life through Airbnb hosting.”

By partnering with Airbnb, we hope to create meaningful, productive and sustainable livelihood opportunities through the new age economy

Airbnb will raise awareness of SEWA listings among our guests through targeted marketing and stories of SEWA hosts, and we will work with SEWA to identify opportunities to create visibility and drive demand for the SEWA homes through joint partnerships with governments, academic institutions, media partners and other civil society organizations.

“Partnering with Airbnb will provide our members the opportunity to meet travelers who want to explore the real India and experience the traditional life of local communities,” says Heena Dave, rural organizer for SEWA. “SEWA’s women members will also get an excellent opportunity to showcase their work to the world, and their children will have dignified livelihood opportunities through Airbnb hosting.”

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