The benefits of heritage tourism for EU communities

What exactly is heritage travel?

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Airbnb is doing its part to grow heritage travel in Europe and advocate for its tourism benefits by supporting a new European Historic Homes education program on heritage preservation and promotion. The short-term rental company is partnering with the Demeures Historiques & Jardins de Belgique to promote and boost Belgian heritage tourism. 

Airbnb has donated nearly ten million euros to heritage organizations in Europe in order to boost the demand for heritage-related travel. In May 2022, Airbnb launched the Historical Homes category, allowing guests to find heritage homes in Spain, Germany, Italy, France, the UK, and now Belgium for the first time.

Approximately 45,000 listings are available in the category of historical homes on Airbnb, and around 70% are in non-urban areas, so the benefits of tourism can be dispersed to rural and less visited areas.

What is heritage tourism, and why is it important? 

Heritage tourism refers to traveling to places with historical and cultural significance for the purpose of experiencing and preserving these places. Heritage tourism boosts local economies, creates jobs in the tourism industry, can help raise awareness of the cultural heritage of a region, and preserve and protect important cultural and natural sites merely by visiting them.

Airbnb’s work on heritage in the EU

  • Restoration of an abandoned ‘1 euro house’ in the historic town of Sambuca as part of a wider support program for rural communities.

  • Offering stays in historic buildings like the German Weissenstein Palace and the Italian Villa Balbiano in order to showcase Europe’s rich architectural heritage.

  • In partnership with Interrail, a specially curated railway journey will connect renowned historic homes across Europe.

Airbnb is also working with policymakers across the EU to enforce fair regulations so that European families can benefit from hosting and governments can curb over-tourism.

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