In a sign of how far things have changed in the world of travel in recent years, Airbnb has now officially joined the World Tourism Organisation as an affiliate member.
The outfit, which has changed the face of choosing accommodation around the world for many travellers, now sits amongst the most influential community of leaders within the travel and tourism sector.
Affiliate Members Programme
The UNWTO is a body that covers 157 member states and more than 480 affiliate members from the private sector, as well as educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.
As part of its work, the UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme brings together representatives from a wide range of non-governmental organisations and they then play a key role in what the organisation actually does.
The importance of the announcement can be seen in the fact that, according to the UNWTO, the travel and tourism sector is one of the biggest in the world. Last year international tourist spending increased by 3.6% and hit a total of $1.4 trillion (c. £0.97 trillion), meaning only fuels and chemicals are bigger in the world economy.
Diversify and democratise
Chris Lehane, Global Head of Public Affairs at Airbnb, commented: “From Cuba to Cape Town, Airbnb is helping to grow and diversify tourism and democratise its benefits for more families, communities and local businesses.
“It’s a sustainable form of tourism that provides transformative travel by allowing people to live like a local," he added. “Airbnb guests don’t just go there they live there by staying in the homes of actual people; visiting the real neighbourhoods; and experiencing life the way a local does.”
Airbnb will participate in the UNWTO Seminar on “New Business Models” which will take place in Lithuania and mark the 60th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe.
Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary General, said: “We welcome Airbnb as one of the newest UNWTO Affiliate Members.”
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Date Created: 13/05/2016