Airbnb, World Bank sign MoU to explore developing tourism in rural economies

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The World Bank group and Airbnb signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) validating their combined efforts to boost the tourism industries of developing economies, at the Tourism Knowledge Exchange 2017, an event highlighting the latest innovations in sustainable tourism.

Through the agreement, Airbnb and the World Bank Group will examine ways in which emerging destinations can use new technology and platforms such as Airbnb to create economic opportunities for communities that have not traditionally benefited from tourism and hospitality.

The two organisations will also share information on the current scale of alternative accommodation options and home sharing across several countries, beginning with pilot projects in Sri Lanka and India. Airbnb and the World Bank Group is also looking to introduce initiative to other countries around the world.

Ultimately, this work will seek to better define the development impacts of these accommodation options while paying particular attention to the ways in which they can be leveraged to unlock economic opportunities in marginalised regions and communities.

Travel and tourism is the largest service industry in the world and accounts for nearly 10 percent of the global GDP. In 2015, revenues from international tourism represented $421 million in emerging economies.

“This partnership with Airbnb allows us to better understand opportunities, prepare policy responses and examine ways to support developing countries as they enable their tourism sectors to boost GDP, create jobs and decrease poverty,” said Cecile Fruman, Director of the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice.