National tourism agency VisitBritain/VisitEngland and Airbnb have agreed to work together to promote local-led tourism experiences to drive up visitor growth and boost the UK economy.
The £500,000 match-funded partnership will create a collaboration of businesses and destinations to promote local experiences to both domestic and international visitors.
Tourism is worth an estimated £127 billion to the UK economy annually, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions, said the partners. This new focus on local travel will add to this revenue.
Experiences on the home-sharing platform Airbnb offer visitors handcrafted activities, tours and educational workshops led by local experts, from trips to hidden jazz clubs with local musicians in Peckham, London to trekking with llamas in the Yorkshire Moors.
The tie-up will also work with businesses and destinations to boost UK tourism by collaborating with the tourism organisations of Scotland and Wales to promote local experiences such as traversing Tarmachan Ridge in Scotland and kayaking on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales.
About half of UK domestic Experiences bookings on the Airbnb platform are made by customers ages 18-to-34, who are also the target for VisitEngland’s domestic campaign #MyMicroGap. Therefore, the focus is to get more young Brits to take a short break at home.
Statistics show that in 2016, people ages 16-to-34 took almost 1.4 million fewer holidays in Britain than the previous decade. #MyMicroGap encourages young Brits to take a ‘microgap,’ a break typically taken during a gap year but condensed into a short break, in the UK.
More creative content like the ‘microgap’ campaign is being developed to continue to inspire young Brits to engage in local experiences. The content will run across Airbnb and VisitEngland’s online channels from February, driving traffic to bookable itineraries and experiences.
The union will also see the national tourism agency and Airbnb hosting a series of free regional workshops across Britain during March and April for destinations and local tourism businesses, entrepreneurs and charities.
These offerings will enable potential hosts to find out more about listing an experience on Airbnb, how to design an innovative experience for visitors and how to drive engagement on the platform through visuals and content.
VisitBritain/VisitEngland estimates that its activity through this partnership will generate an additional 83,000 overnight stays in Britain.
VisitBritain commercial director Carol Dray said: “Our experiences collaboration with Airbnb greatly amplifies our marketing reach and increases the range and depth of bookable tourism experiences locally, giving people more choice.
“We want to boost demand for travel right now, inspiring more young Brits to take ‘microgaps’ and be advocates for experience-based travel in Britain now and in the future, benefitting local businesses and boosting the economy.”
Hadi Moussa, Airbnb general manager for Northern Europe, added: “Britain has always been a hub of creativity and innovation, with many locals having diverse skills and unique talents that should be celebrated and shared.
“From young entrepreneurs to charities and small businesses, this new partnership will help open new streams of revenue for local businesses and destinations, while also promoting everything that Britain has to offer.”