Cape Town – Airbnb has announced that it has officially joined the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as an affiliate member. In doing so, Airbnb joins the most influential community of leaders within the travel and tourism sector, including the UNWTO’s 157 member states and over 480 affiliate members from the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

“From Cuba to Cape Town, Airbnb is helping to grow and diversify tourism and democratise its benefits for more families, communities and local businesses,” said Chris Lehane, Global Head of Public Affairs at Airbnb.

“It's a sustainable form of tourism that provides transformative travel by allowing people to live like a local. Airbnb guests don't just go there; they live there by staying in the homes of actual people; visiting the real neighbourhoods; and experiencing life the way a local does. We are excited to work with UNWTO and global leaders to harness the positive impacts of travel to activate new communities and bring the world a little closer together.”

“We welcome Airbnb as one of the newest UNWTO Affiliate Members,” said Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General. “The UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme gathers representatives from a wide range of non-governmental organisations and is a key feature of UNWTO work.”

Airbnb will participate in the UNWTO Seminar on “New Business Models” taking place at the 60th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe, in Lithuania.

Adapted from a press release for IOL