Airbnb to support tourism growth in SL | Sunday Observer

Airbnb to support tourism growth in SL

Minister Harin Fernando, Airbnb Country Manager for India  and Sri Lanka, Amanpreet Bajaj, SLTDA Chairman Kavan Ratnayaka and SLTDA  Director General Upali Ratnayaka and Head of Strategic Partnerships,  APAC - Airbnb Thao Nguyen at the signing ceremony. (Pic: Vipula  Amarasinghe)
Minister Harin Fernando, Airbnb Country Manager for India and Sri Lanka, Amanpreet Bajaj, SLTDA Chairman Kavan Ratnayaka and SLTDA Director General Upali Ratnayaka and Head of Strategic Partnerships, APAC - Airbnb Thao Nguyen at the signing ceremony. (Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe)

Sri Lanka has a huge potential for Airbnb, an online platform for home-stay bookings, which currently has over 18,000 home-stay listings growing at around 70 percent year-on-year according to a top official of the company which signed up with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to launch Airbnb experiences in Sri Lanka.

“We see enormous opportunities for Airbnb to grow in Sri Lanka with the number of listings and interest for home-stay in the country growing at a steady rate each year. This growth has been constant since the company commenced operations in 2008,” Airbnb Country Manager for India and Sri Lanka, Amanpreet Bajaj.

Airbnb and SLTDA entered into a strategic partnership to launch Airbnb experiences in Sri Lanka and drive local, authentic and sustainable tourism across the country.

“Tourism in Sri Lanka is on a rapid growth path which will be further supported by Airbnb’s platform showcasing some of the pristine destinations of the country. The partnership to share experiences will help promote the country’s vastly rich heritage, culture and warmth of the people,” Bajaj said.

Launched in 2016 with 500 experiences across 12 cities, the Airbnb platform now offers over 15,000 experiences in over 800 cities across the globe. The company expects the number of experiences from across the world to grow by at least 1,000 by the end of this year.

Airbnb experiences are activities or excursions which are led by passionate local hosts, highlighting their interests and perspectives as well as unique locations of the country.

“We are extremely delighted to partner with Sri Lankan Tourism and one of the beautiful countries in the world that enchants travelers with breath taking heritage and worm hospitality of its people that makes the country unique and a key trending destination,” Bajaj said.

Airbnb’s story begins with three hosts from St Francisco wanting to rent out space for visitors having purchased a couple of mattresses for the stay and then taking them out to view the city to take home unforgettable memories.

Ten years later the company has grown to host over five million lodging listings in 81,000 cities and 191 countries and has facilitated over 300 million check-ins.

Minister of Telecommunication, digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Harin Fernando said he was happy to witness a vital partnership at a time when digitalisation is the buzz word. Today no one will want to look for places without going through an Airbnb app.

“This is a great effort for tourism in Sri Lanka to promote destinations such as Ella, an amazing place to be. Over 800 holiday makers get off the train from Ella daily. The government is keen on developing the tourism industry while ensuring the safety of travelers,” Fernando said.

Chairman, SLTDA, Kavan Ratnayaka said SLTDA is excited to partner with Airbnb to promote Sri Lanka among destinations for travel. The collaboration will be of immense value to the tourism industry which is poised for a higher growth both in terms of arrivals and revenue.

“We expect the number of arrivals to touch around 2.5 million and earnings to cross US$ 4.5 billion this year,” Ratnayaka said.

Airbnb’s APAC Head of Strategic Partnerships Thao Nguyen said Airbnb experience hosts are the embodiment of their healthy travel. Our Sri Lankan hosts are micro-entrepreneurs sharing their passion to earn income while providing the experience sought by travelers.

“Airbnb can make travel not only magical but also convenient. Travelers want magical experiences but do they get that. Many travel platforms promise such experiences but fail to fulfill the pledge. Travelers who had been planning for four days to stay four days in place need no longer to go through that hassle,” Nguyen said. 

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