Chile Airbnb Revolution tour pulled after criticism
Chile: An Airbnb Experiences tour inviting tourists to Chile to “Live the Revolution” [or “Viva La Revolución] has been de-listed from the platform after a visit to a square that has been populated by anti-government protestors was met with widespread outrage by locals.
A tour group visited Plaza Italia in the country’s capital, Santiago, which has seen waves of mass demonstrations by protesters citing social and economic inequality in Chile.
The Airbnb Experience was previously listed on the site at 19,000 Chilean pesos [the equivalent of £19]. It included the offer of a bottle of water and protective eye goggles, which could be used to protect themselves in case they were ambushed by riot police.
Airbnb launched its Experiences program, which promotes “one-of-a-kind activities hosted by locals”, in 2016 to grow out its offering from short-term rental properties. It offers a mixture of tours, activities and classes that typically last a few hours and are priced between $10 and a couple of hundred dollars.
However, the tour has now been withdrawn from the site after criticism flooded in on social media.
Experience promotor Sebastián Nieto told The Guardian: “I realised that at the protests there are always lots of spectators, people taking photos. Of course, there is a backdrop of social issues – which is totally valid – but there’s also a playful element.”
Chileans expressed their indignation over social media, claiming it was a “violation of Airbnb’s safety policies” and “insensitive”.
Repeated clashes have unfolded at Plaza Italia between protesters and the police for almost three months. According to reports, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the rallies since they began in September as they called for radical changes to the country’s economic and political system over alleged corruption claims.
The country’s security forces have also been accused of a spate of grave human rights abuses in their response to the marches, that have left at least 26 people dead and thousands more injured.
The UN human rights office reported that it had heard 345 cases involving people suffering eye injuries caused by lead pellets fired from police shotguns.
In addition, the civil unrest has resulted in local artists displaying their creative expression in the form of impromptu public concerts and politically-inspired street art, although this has also drawn controversy over the opinions expressed in them.
Last week, Nieto wrote on the former Airbnb page, “Learn the social demands of the movement through the art of the protests”, although this was taken down after mounting criticism from Chile’s artistic community.