VisitBritain/VisitEngland partners with Experiences on Airbnb to promote local tourism experiences, driving visitor growth

Source: VisitBritain 6 February 2019

National tourism agency VisitBritain/VisitEngland and Airbnb have announced a partnership to promote and broaden local-led tourism experiences, driving visitor growth and boosting the economy.

The £500,000 match-funded partnership will work with businesses and destinations to promote local experiences to domestic and international visitors, and grow and broaden the range of experiences available.

Experiences on the Airbnb platform offers visitors handcrafted activities, tours and educational workshops led by local experts, from a trip to a hidden jazz club with a local musician in Peckham, London, to trekking with llamas in the Yorkshire Moors. The platform also offers a route to market for British businesses to host their experiences and grow their revenue stream.

The partnership will also work with businesses and destinations to get more Brits to take a holiday at home to boost tourism, collaborating with the tourism organisations of Scotland and Wales to promote local experiences, from traversing Tarmachan Ridge in Scotland to kayaking on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales.

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 said: 

“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.” 

A focus is getting more young Brits to take a short break at home. About half of UK domestic Experiences bookings on the Airbnb platform are made by 18-to-34 year olds, who are also the target for VisitEngland’s domestic campaign #MyMicroGap. The campaign encourages young Brits to take a ‘microgap,’ a break typically taken during a gap year but condensed into a short break. Statistics show that in 2016, 16-to-34 year olds took almost 1.4 million fewer holidays in Britain than a decade previously.

Creative content to inspire young Brits to engage in local Experiences is also being developed, in line with VisitEngland’s #MyMicroGap campaign, which will run across Airbnb and VisitEngland’s online channels from this month (February), driving traffic to bookable itineraries and experiences.

The partnership 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. This will enable potential hosts to find out more about listing an Experience on Airbnb, how to design an innovative Experience for visitors, as well as how to drive engagement on the platform through exciting visuals and compelling content. The workshop dates will be available in the coming weeks on

VisitBritain/VisitEngland estimates that its activity through this partnership will generate an additional 83,000 overnight stays in Britain.

Tourism is worth an estimated £127 billion to the UK economy annually, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.

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