Airbnb shares new impact data in the UK and launches Office of Healthy Tourism

Airbnb has today shared new transparency data globally on the positive impacts of home sharing in more than 300 top cities and 80 countries across the world.

The new data, accessible to anyone across the world, covers all 2017 and forms part of an ongoing commitment to transparency with local governments, and demonstrates the inherent benefits of healthy tourism to local families and their communities. Across the world, it shows that there are 4.85 million listings on Airbnb in more than 191 countries. The vast majority of guests say they chose Airbnb because they want to live like a local (79 percent) and because it is more convenient than hotel locations (89 percent).

More than half of guests using Airbnb globally (53 percent) say the money they saved using Airbnb was spent at local businesses, and almost half of all guest spending (44 percent) takes place in the communities where they stay, which are spread across cities and beyond hotel districts and traditional tourist hotspots.

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

In the United Kingdom the data shows that:

  • The United Kingdom is home to a vibrant community of hosts who welcomed visitors from more than 150 countries into their homes and communities.
  • In the United Kingdom, the typical host earned £3,286 renting out their space 39 days a year, providing meaningful income for regular people and families.
  • The United Kingdom welcomed nearly 7.39 million inbound guests last year, and 9.5 million outbound guests travelled from the UK to other destinations, creating offline connections across borders and cultures.

Launching the Office of Healthy Tourism
The new data coincides with Airbnb launching its new Office of Healthy Tourism, an initiative to help drive local, authentic and sustainable tourism in countries and cities across the globe.

Since the company was founded 10 years ago, travellers have discovered new destinations and neighbourhoods 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.

“Airbnb supports tourism that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable,” said Chris Lehane. “Through the meaningful income earned by our global community of hosts; our ability to promote tourism to places that need it the most; and the inherent sustainable benefits of hosting, Airbnb is providing the type of travel that is best for destinations, residents, and travellers alike.”

Welcoming the Tourism Advisory Board
To support this ongoing mission, Airbnb is also today welcoming its first Tourism Advisory Board. Comprised of global tourism experts, it will help shape the company’s long-term vision and activities to ensure that Airbnb remains a solution to the overtourism caused by mass travel.

This is particularly important as the tourism industry continues to grow. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel industry supports 313 million jobs and generates 10% of the world’s GDP.

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:

  • Taleb Rifai, the former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
  • David Scowsill, Chief Executive of EON Reality Inc. and former President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
  • 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

“We are incredibly proud to have some of the foremost leaders in the travel industry joining our Tourism Advisory Board,” said Chris Lehane. “These are all leaders of impeccable credentials who have worked to promote healthy tourism. With members from four different continents, we look forward to getting their perspectives to ensure Airbnb remains a solution to overtourism, and to tap their expertise to promote and drive healthy tourism around the world.”

“The kind of tourism that Airbnb provides enhances both the quality of life for residents of destinations, as well as the experience and quality of trips for guests,” said Taleb Rifai, former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. “I am thrilled and excited to be joining Airbnb’s Tourism Advisory Board, and to be working with my fellow Board members to ensure that the company continues to be a force for healthy tourism around the world; a force for good.”