Airbnb, the world's largest online homestay marketplace has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) to help them share their homes with Airbnb’s community of international and domestic guests.
The partnership is expected to create economic opportunities for women in rural areas and promote tourism spend in parts of India that have not traditionally benefited from tourism and hospitality.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb started operations in India in 2016 and has 18,000 properties listed here. Mike Orgill, director of public policy, Asia Pacific said, "we have seen 188 percent growth in guest arrivals in India. Almost half the hosts here are women. The partnership with SEWA will boost opportunities for women in India."
As part of the partnership, Airbnb and SEWA will be expanding the network of Airbnb homes in rural areas through SEWA's member network. The initiative will begin in Gujarat and eventually expand to other states that have a significant presence of SEWA members. It will also involve training of SEWA members on home sharing, hospitality and amenity standards, and responsible hosting practices.
Airbnb will also help SEWA build a strong community of SEWA hosts who can learn from each other and constantly improve hosting standards. The hospitality company will use its digital platform to create awareness of SEWA homes to its community of international and domestic guests.
Moreover, Airbnb and SEWA will explore opportunities to create visibility and drive demand for the SEWA homes through joint partnerships with various State Governments, academic institutions, media partners and other civil society organizations.
“The partnership is an important step in Airbnb’s commitment to enabling economic empowerment for female entrepreneurs and promote digital inclusion in rural areas”, said Thao Nguyen, Airbnb’s Director of Policy Partnerships, Asia Pacific.
“By partnering with Airbnb, we hope to create meaningful, productive and sustainable livelihood opportunities through the new age economy for our 2 million women members across 14 states of India, especially the young members who would benefit tremendously from digital inclusion. Through the partnership, we will help our members become powerful micro-entrepreneurs, best placed to promote sustainable and responsible tourism in India and bridge the gap between urban and rural communities by exposing them to the rural way of life through Airbnb hosting,” said Reema Nanavaty, SEWA’s Director.