Airbnb accounts for just 7 percent of guest arrivals in the world’s most popular destinations at risk of overtourism

The vast majority of each dollar spent on Airbnb flows directly to hosts, who keep up to 97 percent of every dollar, euro or pound they charge to rent their space.

Hosts then spend and reinvest their earnings in a number of ways including household expenses, rent or mortgage payments, cleaners, home improvement, healthcare and education. Relative to chain hotels, a much smaller percentage of home sharing spending is paid in fees.

This stands in stark contrast to tourism spends with hotels, where anywhere between 14 to 36 cents of each chain-hotel dollar may never reach the actual destination community. On cruise ships, data shows the only potential benefits for local communities from cruise ship accommodation spending are fuel costs and local transportation costs of shuttling day-trippers from a port to a limited number of sites.

“From the destination point of view, tourism can be plotted on a spectrum from beneficial to problematic,” says Tourtellot. “At the beneficial end, we can posit that healthy travel is good for the visitor and good for the destination—its people, environment, culture, and character. 

The goal, of course, is to avoid conditions that fail to do that, as in the case of ‘leakage’, when a high proportion of tourist revenue goes to the bottom line of a far-away business or corporation rather than helping the local economy.”

Airbnb and total visitor share

In a study of eight of the world’s most popular travel destinations at risk of overtourism, including Barcelona, Venice, Amsterdam and Japan, data shows that Airbnb accounts for just 7 percent of all guest arrivals, including hotel and cruise ship guests. This equates to 0.37 guests per local resident on Airbnb, compared to 5.1 tourists for every local resident – or almost 14 times more non-Airbnb than Airbnb guests.

Local examples show total tourist arrivals per local resident outnumber Airbnb guest arrivals by 73.8 to 2.2 in Venice; 51.3 to 5.2 in Queenstown, New Zealand; and 10.2 to 0.5 in Mallorca.

“Airbnb is built on the foundation that home sharing delivers authentic experiences for guests while benefiting local people, places and communities. We firmly believe our community is part of the solution to the challenges of mass tourism, and can deliver sustainable growth that benefits everyone,” Airbnb Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Nathan Blecharczyk.

This report follows the launch of Airbnb’s Office of Healthy Tourism, which aims to promote the development of healthy tourism across the world, and the launch of global data on the positive impacts of home sharing in more than 300 top cities and 80 countries across the world.