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Rosselló, Airbnb CEO launch initiative to drive tourism to P.R.

At the Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco, Gov. Rosselló and Airbnb CEO announced the launch of “Experiences on the Island.”

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló traveled to California to Airbnb’s headquarters to announce, flanked by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, a new partnership to drive tourism to the island and support the region as it builds back after Hurricane María.

As part of this partnership, Airbnb launched the “Experiences on the Island” platform, with the aim of helping travelers enjoy the most authentic Puerto Rico through unique activities designed by local hosts.

In addition, during the next three months, the company will donate the total fees charged for reservations made in Puerto Rico to organizations such as All Hands and Hearts, a non-governmental organization dedicated to volunteering focused on disaster recovery, as well as other organizations focused on local assistance.

Furthermore, Airbnb and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company will launch a marketing campaign to promote the “unique experiences that the island offers,” officials said.

This initiative will be led by the Airbnb’s Office of Healthy Tourism, officially launched last month. In addition, Airbnb will organize events in New York and Florida to celebrate the new projects.

“Puerto Rico has long been a top destination for travelers looking to experience its rich culture, beautiful scenery, and incredible hospitality,” said Chesky. “Its determination in the face of such daunting challenges has amazed and inspired us, and we look forward to working with these important partners to unlock the magic of the island for more travelers from around the world and empower Puerto Rico’s businesses and people to build an even stronger travel industry than before the hurricane.”

“The future looks promising for the tourism sector of Puerto Rico,” said Rosselló. “Taking advantage of the power of the Airbnb platform gives us the opportunity to increase the visibility of the island as a travel destination, making it more sustainable and diverse. Likewise, this initiative allows more residents to benefit from the economic opportunities offered by tourism.”

Meanwhile, Carlos Mercader executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington said “from the federal capital we will continue working with Airbnb with the objective of expanding its innovation platform in Puerto Rico for the benefit of tourism on the island and, above all, to be able to offer the best experience for visitors.”

Airbnb to donate trip fees
To mark the launch of “Experiences,” Airbnb seeks to incentivize travelers to book their next trip, and help with rebuilding efforts.

Airbnb will be donating its fees from Trips bookings (both homes and experiences) for the next three months to All Hands and Hearts, as well as to other local nonprofit organizations.

All Hands and Hearts is a nonprofit organization that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters by engaging and leveraging volunteers, partner organizations, and local communities.

Airbnb has worked with the organization since 2015, leveraging its host community to accommodate its volunteers. So far in Puerto Rico, All Hands and Hearts has completed nearly 250 projects and volunteers have dedicated nearly 25,000 hours to rebuilding and recovery efforts.

“For a long time, Airbnb has been a valuable partner, because an innovative and effective approach is needed for a cooperation of impact,” said Erik Dyson, CEO of All Hands and Hearts.

“This latest program again emphasizes Airbnb’s unique ability to leverage its assets to help families in need,” Dyson said. “We’re proud to partner with them once again to help even more Puerto Rican families on the road to recovery.”

Airbnb’s business picks up post-María
Airbnb’s business in Puerto Rico has rebounded since Hurricane María, executives said. Since October 2017, nearly 3,000 hosts in Puerto Rico have welcomed 112,000 guests, earning more than $17 million.

The launch of Airbnb “Experiences” on the island will contribute more to the local economy, executives said.

At its launching, there are already nearly 50 “Experiences” across the island, ranging from sailing at sunset in San Juan Bay, to hiking in a nature reserve in the mountains of Puerto Rico, to touring San Juan’s nightlife with a local musician.

Joint destination marketing campaign
Last month, Airbnb launched its Office of Healthy Tourism, an initiative to drive local, authentic, and sustainable tourism worldwide. Through its Voluntary Collection Agreement in August 2017 with the government of Puerto Rico, Airbnb has already remitted $1.6 million in taxes to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company to help promote tourism on the island.

In the first partnership announced since the launch of the Office of Healthy Tourism, Airbnb will be further working with the Tourism Co. to market destinations in Puerto Rico. This campaign will include a site on Airbnb’s platform dedicated to inspire travel to Puerto Rico, an email marketing campaign driving interest to local and authentic experiences on the island, and a social media campaign highlighting the region to Airbnb’s global community of travelers.

“As one of the largest travel brands, Airbnb has the opportunity to showcase the beauty of Puerto Rico to an audience of millions,” said Carla Campos, acting Tourism Co. executive director. “We look forward to showing the Airbnb community worldwide that Puerto Rico is open for business and ready to host them.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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