UK / Italy: Ethical holiday rental site Fairbnb.coop has announced the launch of its regenerative tourism model in the UK.
The cooperative platform, which is recognised by the European Commission, operates under a business model that promotes community powered tourism, and by extension, the growth of a social economy and sustainability, that can represent a “social innovation and a systemic change in the economy of the tourism sector”.
Fairbnb.coop encourages hosts to adopt sustainable practices, such as using eco-friendly cleaning products, providing guests with information about local public transportation options and by providing information about local shops and trades.
Like other platforms, Fairbnb.coop charges a 15 per cent commission on each booking, however it differs in using half to cover operating expenses and donating the other half of its revenue to fund local community and social projects. In doing so, it aims to offer travellers the opportunity to participate in a more sustainable and equitable model of tourism, and local social projects to benefit from crowdfunding.
The site is free to join and only accepts registered hosts.
The company has also launched multiple charity initiatives through their partnership with local charities, most recently with the Big Issue Foundation, a UK-based charity at the heart of the Big Issue Magazine that works to fight poverty and create opportunities for the homeless and people at risk of homelessness. Through the partnership, the company plans to support the Big Issue Foundation’s work, by donating half the commission to the charity in areas where a local project has not been identified yet.
In London, part of the fees from guest bookings will go towards the renovation of Gillett Square, a community space in Hackney. In Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, every time a customer books a holiday home, cottage or BnB on the website, 50 per cent of the booking fees will go to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices [EACH], a charity that supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions.
The platform has an existing presence in Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, and Belgium, and now plans to bring the people-over-profit concept to the UK. At the end of 2021, Fairbnb.coop raised €1 million in a year-long fundraising campaign set up to accelerate the development and growth of the platform, and build “the future of community-powered tourism”.