Airbnb partners with 23andMe to facilitate heritage travel trips

Worldwide: Airbnb is teaming up with biotech firm 23andMe to recommend heritage travel destinations to its traveller community and the latter’s customers.

Heritage travel is when travellers make long journeys, like pilgrimages, to uncover their family histories in their ancestors’ home cities, towns and countries. 23andMe comes in to the equation as it produces personalised genomics reports about family history and health, which will allow both companies to facilitate trips for their customers to learn about their family backgrounds.

23andMe customers will soon have the chance to connect with their ancestral populations to find Airbnb Homes and Experiences located in their ancestral countries. Airbnb itself has now dedicated pages that correspond with 23andMe’s genetic populations in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and West Asia, Central America and Mexico, South America, East and South Asia, and the Caribbean and Europe.

23andMe CEO and co-founder, Anne Wojcicki, told VentureBeat: “We empower 23andMe customers to learn about themselves and their ancestry through their unique genetic code. Working with Airbnb, a leader who is reimagining travel, provides an exciting opportunity for our customers to connect with their heritage through deeply personal cultural and travel experiences.”

A recent survey revealed that around 89 per cent of people in India and 69 per cent of those in France and the U.S. had travelled to at least one country of their ancestry. Meanwhile, many Australian, Indian, British and Brazilian travellers said that visiting a place connected with their relatives would be a primary motivation when planning their next trip.

Although much of the terms agreed within the deal were not disclosed, it is believed that the partnership could prove to be lucrative to both companies.

Heritage travel was listed on Lonely Planet’s list of “Top Travel Trends for 2019”, and according to Airbnb, the number of travellers using its booking platform to trace their roots has risen by 500 per cent in the past five years, particularly in the 60-90 years old demographic. It also revealed the most popular places of orgin for heritage trips were the United States, Canada, Australia, mainland China, the UK, France, South Korea, New Zeland, Taiwan and Brazil.

Furthermore, 23andMe reported that the majority of its customers have at least five populations within their ancestry compositions.

Airbnb co-founder and chief product officer, Joe Gebbia, said: “At Airbnb, we believe that authentic travel experiences help you connect with local cultures and create a sense of belonging anywhere in the world — and what better way to do that than travelling to your roots?

“We’re proud to team up with 23andMe, the leader in helping people learn about their genes and ancestry, to make it easier for travellers to plan trips as unique as their DNA,” he added.

For more information, visit the Airbnb website here and the 23andMe website here.

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