Airbnb has launched the Office of Healthy Tourism, an initiative to drive local, authentic and sustainable tourism in countries and cities across the globe.
In a press statement released on April 17, the company said it 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.
“With travel and tourism growing faster than most of the rest of 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 the mass travel that has plagued cities for decades,” said Airbnb’s global head of policy and communications, Chris Lehane.
According to the company, the idea is to encourage tourism to lesser-known parts of the world while also making sure the influx of visitors benefits those communities. Last year, the home-sharing company opened the Yoshino Cedar House, a landmark listing in a rural community in Japan that was slowly disappearing due to an ageing population, low birth rate, and exodus of young people. The Office of Healthy Tourism will continue to focus on such projects surrounding rural regeneration, from small villages in Italy to the countryside in China.
Meanwhile, a new Tourism Advisory Board made up of travel industry leaders from around the world to keep the initiative in check has also been formed.
They include former president and CEO of World Travel & Tourism Council, David Scowsill; former secretary general of the WTO, Taleb Rifai; former director general of Rwanda Tourism, Rosette Rugamba; and former premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr.