Airbnb participated in the 2016 Korea Food Show (KFS) to showcase key host stories and our economic, social, and cultural contribution to the Korean community. Held from September 1st – 4th, KFS is an annual exhibition organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, which regulates and oversees home-sharing and B&Bs in non-metropolitan areas in Korea. It has attracted more than 200,000 visitors and 230 organisations every year since 2008.
Some of the exhibition highlights include:
- The Minister of Agriculture, Joon Won Lee, personally acknowledged Airbnb’s dedication to promote rural tourism as well as our commitment to work the government and the community to bring benefits to Korea. Lee noted, “I want to support Airbnb in expanding its efforts to bring homesharing to all nine states.”
- Our booth showcased three inspiring experiences of Airbnb hosts from rural regions of Korea.
Gye-ryeong, one of the hosts that we showcased noted, “I am so happy that someone’s happiness belongs in my house.” What started as a mere use of his spare room in his traditional home became a source of new energy to his life and his local community. After he moved back to the rural area, he felt his life very repetitive and boring and often thought back to his city life. But now, he says that he would not trade his hosting life for anything. Having been an Airbnb host, he has built special relationships with people from all over the world. Gye-ryeong’s newly found passion for hosting represents those of many Airbnb hosts in the rural provinces.
Jae-seung loves sharing meals and a cup of tea with his neighborhoods. The personal bond that he builds with whom he drinks tea projected to the Airbnb guests at his home. He specially brews tea for new guests and proactively engages in conversations about their travels. Jae is a natural marketer: “When I explain to the visitors about my neighborhood, I want them to go back to their respective homes and think, ‘Jae’s neighborhood was the best.’” He testified that he did not perceive his pride of his home or the rural region until he became an Airbnb host. He now strives to make his home look nicer and more comfortable for the guests, such as leaving bigger towels for the guests.
Hee-rak built a house for himself in the rural province, and wanted to share it with whoever visited his neighborhood. He only expected Koreans from other regions to rent out his space. With Airbnb, however, “People from all over the world are able to dwell in my art.” This amplifies his pride and happiness he gets from sharing his place. He lives everyday that his visitors live their lives with the memory of staying in his self-built house– a drive in his life.
These positive testimonials present homesharing as a critical part of hosts’ lives, and also urge Airbnb to continue our effort in promoting rural tourism and making the integration of homesharing into people’s lives easier.