With the rise of responsible travel trends, more and more travellers are looking to support the communities they visit. The demand for experiential travel has grown. According to a study by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), this demand is actually changing the definition of adventure travel as more and more travellers are choosing experiences that immerse them in a new culture. Airbnb launched Experiences across South Africa in 2018, offering people around the world a chance to discover a new neighbourhood, learn a skill or try a new activity with a local expert. For travellers looking to give back and experience something new, Social Impact Experiences on Airbnb are ideal, offering immersive experiences around the world which support people and communities. Non-profit organisations are able to raise funds and awareness, with Airbnb waiving its fees so that 100% of the proceeds go to the cause.
These are just some of the Airbnb Social Impact Experiences travellers can join around the world:
Social entrepreneur and Airbnb Experience host Wandisile has a vision to turn children away from gangs in Cape Town’s townships. He takes visitors on a 3-hour Township Evolution experience in Khayelitsha, learning about the area’s history, visiting local malls and coffee shops and tasting local, homemade pizza. But the focus of the experience is a visit (via local minibus taxi) to the ‘18 Gangster Museum’ ‒ a permanent installation which provides insight into gang life by telling the story of the negative choices a person made that led them to gang life and prison. You will hear first-hand accounts from an ex-offender, and, by taking part in the Experience, provide funding to help teach more young people about the dangers of engaging in gang activities.
Airbnb Experience host Jack is founder of TurnOut, a non-profit which connects volunteers with LGBTQ+ causes. He has worked with LGBTQ+ organisations, fighting for queer rights around the world for the past decade. His tour takes visitors on a bike ride through San Francisco’s iconic neighbourhoods, hearing stories about the city’s hidden queer history along the way. More than just a city tour, you’ll learn about the Gold Rush, Prohibition, World War II and the AIDS crisis in relation to what the tour describes as the “gayest city in the world”. So, you will you learn a lot and get some exercise, and it all supports TurnOut!
Rio de Janeiro
The Refettorio Gastromotiva is a restaurant that serves free dinners to vulnerable people. It was founded by Massimo Bottura (a 3-star Michelin chef and winner of the first prize for Best Restaurant in the World), chef and social entrepreneur David Hertz and writer Alexandra Forbes.
The six-hour Feast to the Heart Experience invites travellers to get stuck in preparing, cooking and assembling enough food to feed up to 90 guests. Helped by the chefs, you will prepare a banquet with ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. Once everyone has been fed, you sit down with the team to feast on what you cooked during the day. The fresh fruit ice cream is not to be missed, but it’s the fulfilling sense of having helped people in need that will stay with you long after the experience has passed.
While visiting Paris, one of the most fashionable cities in the world, you can take part in a two-hour creative workshop learning about fashion and upcycling with Airbnb Experience host and stylist Marcia.
She created the association Chaussettes Orphelines (orphan socks) in 2008 to take something as simple as socks that no longer form a pair and use them to create clothes and accessories. This project focuses on upcycling textiles to create ethically fashionable items, but Marcia also wanted to ensure that there was a social integration aspect which would benefit people in need. Workshop participants will learn to make a textile painting or accessory and will have a unique souvenir to take home for their involvement.
In Hong Kong, you can learn about food recycling and feed hungry families in the process. Airbnb Experience host Sukrit is a finance professional, with a love for making a difference to society. He runs Sewa Day HK, a not-for-profit which unites people in donating their time and energy to causes.
In partnership with People Service Centre, a non-profit that recycles food that would be wasted, Sukrit runs a two-hour activity in four stages: briefing (where you will learn about problems around food wastage), a visit to a fresh food market to collect consumable food that would be thrown away, sorting food into baskets, and donating the hampers to the underprivileged elderly so that they may prepare a meal. Every day, 150 kg of food is recycled and distributed to 50 households.