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
"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.
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