In an effort to spur economic growth through local and sustainable tourism, Airbnb has opened the Office of Healthy Tourism.
The initiative is designed to drive visitors to lesser-trafficked destinations around the globe that stand to benefit most from tourism dollars – a sort of antidote to the overtourism problem in larger markets.
“Right now not all tourism is created equal,” says Airbnb global head of policy and communications Chris Lehane. “To democratize the benefits of travel, Airbnb offers a healthy alternative to the mass travel that has plagued cities for decades.”
The company has also announced a Tourism Advisory Board comprising global travel industry leaders that will help oversee Airbnb’s long-term strategy around sustainable tourism.
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Airbnb also points to new data about how its community supports its healthy tourism efforts: 88% of hosts incorporate green practices into hosting such as using environmentally friendly cleaning products, providing recycling and encouraging guests to use public transport.
Some 84% of guests say they choose Airbnb because they want to “live like a local,” and 66% say the green benefits of home-sharing factor into why they choose the platform.
Eighty-nine percent of guests say they choose Airbnb because the properties are more conveniently located than hotels, while 53% say they spend the money they save using Airbnb in local neighborhoods.
The Office of Healthy Tourism is one additional push by Airbnb to help legitimize itself against its newly minted rivalries, as well as to foster goodwill among the communities in which it faces regulations battles.
Airbnb says its healthy tourism initiative promotes the best type of travel for “destinations, residents and travelers alike” – a position it sees worthy of investing in as the competition continues to heat up.