Attractions industry news

19 Jun 2017

Airbnb introduces €5m Community Tourism Programme

Home-sharing platform Airbnb has announced plans to invest €5m (US$5.6m, £4.4m) into a new Community Tourism Programme – a project designed to “use innovation to help preserve and boost the best of local customs, traditions and landmarks that make communities unique.”

The company is seeking projects under the categories of placemaking, innovation, and festivals and events.

The placemaking category covers imagining and reinventing public spaces to build community for locals and visitors alike. For innovation, applicants must reimagine the tourism and travel space by sparking entrepreneurship and strengthening local economies. Under the festivals and events category, projects must be focused on preserving or celebrating local festivals and events while introducing them to a broader, appreciative audience.

Airbnb says that it will take submissions from a number of different organisations, including charities, not-for-profit ventures and community-focused groups. Financial support is available under a three-tiered funding structure, which at the low end is €10,000 to €25,000, with the mid tier then up to as much as €50,000 and the highest tier up to €100,000.

While Airbnb is encouraging use of its marketplace to enhance projects, it is not a necessity for applicants in their proposals.

“We have had a lot of success doing one-off projects in Europe and we want to put this in place and take it to the next level,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb global head of public policy and public Affairs.

“Airbnb has a long history of supporting progressive local initiatives that boost communities and bring people together, and we’re excited to continue that tradition here in Europe.”

In line with the announcement, Airbnb said that it will contribute €340bn (US$380.6bn, €297.4bn) in economic output across communities in Europe by 2020, with one million jobs tied to the “Airbnb economy” at that point.

Letters of Interest are being accepted between 15 June and 4 August, with Airbnb asking applicants for a broad description of the project, how it meets the Community Tourism Programme’s goals, and a projection of community impact. Successful shortlisted projects will then be invited to submit full application on 29 September. Successful projects will be awarded funding by February next year, with a second call for projects to come in early 2018.

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