Airbnb partners World Bank to boost rural tourism

The project will initially be rolled out in India and Sri Lanka
The project will initially be rolled out in India and Sri Lanka

Airbnb has signed a new agreement with the World Bank Group, through which the two organisations plan to boost rural economies in developing countries through tourism.

A memorandum of understanding will examine the ways in which emerging destinations can use new technology and platforms such as Airbnb to create economic opportunities for communities.

Airbnb and the World Bank will also share information on the current scale of alternative accommodation options and home-sharing across several countries, beginning with pilot projects in Sri Lanka and India.

Ultimately, the aim is to define the impact of these accommodation options on rural communities and develop new ways to unlock the economic opportunities they offer. The initiative will then be rolled out to other countries.

“At Airbnb, we believe home-sharing can help close the widening gap in economic opportunity between urban and rural areas,” said Clark Stevens, Airbnb’s director of government affairs & strategic partnerships. “We’ve already seen the important economic engine that home sharing has become for communities around the world, and we’re excited to partner with the World Bank Group to further study the development impacts of home sharing and pilot projects in emerging tourist destinations.”

Travel and tourism currently accounts for nearly 10% of global GDP, and emerging markets’ share of total global arrivals is expected to reach 57% by 2030, corresponding to more than one billion travellers.

“Travel and tourism is one of the largest service industries in the world and accommodation is at its core. The sharing economy has created opportunities across the sector and this partnership with Airbnb allows us to better understand those opportunities, prepare policy responses and examine ways to support developing countries as they enable their tourism sectors to boost GDP, create jobs and decrease poverty,” said Cecile Fruman, director of the World Bank Group’s Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice.

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