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Airbnb hones in on destination travel

US: Airbnb has announced two initiatives to support local economic growth and the resurgence of destination travel.

It has partnered with 15 distinct destination marketing organisations, as well as a new initiative, ‘Go Near’, which intends to reinvigorate local economies through travel.

Airbnb hopes that the partnership with various travel boards will demonstrate their platform’s status as a tool for economic development. It supported this idea with historic data, noting that the company generated $117 billion in distinct economic impact across 30 counties in 2019, up 16 per cent from 2018.

The company’s leading partner is the US National Park Foundation, who hope to highlight the less travelled parts of the US national parks. Additional partners include Discover Puerto Rico, Visit North Carolina, VisitDenmark, and the French Association of Rural Mayors.

Airbnb is also launching Go Near, an email and social media campaign designed to highlight nearby destinations and online experiences. This hopes to tap into the demand for local trips that the company has noted.

Internal data shows that nearly half of US residents hope to stay within a day’s drive for a destination once restrictions lift. This may carry over internationally as well, as leaders in the UK government have suggested vacation rentals may be the first tourist accommodation to reopen.

The company further noted that more bookings were made between 17 May and 6 June than in the previous year, primarily in properties owned by Superhosts. The company also saw its first year-over-year growth in booking value since February, the beginning of the pandemic.

Though Airbnb is promoting additional travel, it is also insisting that its guests and hosts alike follow local guidance on safety and cleanliness going forward. It introduced a new cleanliness programme, led by former U.S Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, in order to ensure safety within its rentals.