PANJIM: The Airbnb community contributed USD 61 million, and supported more than 7,500 local jobs in Goa in 2019, according to Oxford Economics’ ‘The Economic Impact of Airbnb in India’ report which was released last month.
Airbnb is one of the world’s largest marketplaces for unique, authentic places to stay and things to do, offering over 7 million accommodations and 50,000 handcrafted activities, all powered by local hosts.
The report explored the total economic impact of Airbnb in India between 2015 and 2019, and found that Airbnb was a significant contributor to Goa’s tourism economy. In the past five years, Airbnb guests spent a total of USD 155.8 million (Rs 1100 crore) in Goa, of which USD 64.2 million was spent in 2019 alone.
Importantly, the report also highlighted how Airbnb’s community-led approach is spreading the benefits of tourism to micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses. In fact, Rs 6,500 out of every Rs 10,000 spent outside accommodation by Airbnb guests in India went on shopping or food, supporting these local businesses.
The Herald communicated with Amanpreet Bajaj, general manager - Airbnb India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan who said, “Goa is a key market for Airbnb in India. We are working closely with our Goa hosts at this time and are willing to do anything we can in partnership with authorities to help them in their economic recovery. The Oxford Economics study illustrates how Airbnb’s community-first approach to tourism benefits micro-entrepreneurs and small business in the State. We are confident that travel will be back in the region. Goa continues to be one of the most sought-after destinations for the Indian travellers.”
He further added that they are also conscious, as long standing partners to Goan communities, that tourism in the State must be high-quality and sustainable. Home-sharing is a great way to expand tourism opportunities that promote Goa’s unique culture and bring employment opportunities to the heart of the community.
“We are respectful of Government’s guidelines to ensure the safety of communities as travel resumes and are working hard to support our community to prepare for the future of travel, through additional measures on health and safety. We have announced an Enhanced Cleaning Protocol for our hosts in India. These are industry-first guidelines that include a step-by-step handbook designed for everyday hosts and are backed by expert counsel and medical guidance from professionals who are at the forefront of the industry. These practices have also been reviewed by the Indian Medical Association and other leading medical experts,” Bajaj said.
Subho Ray, president of Internet and Mobile Association of India, said, “For an industry that contributes nearly 10 per cent to India’s GDP, a community-based approach at the grassroots level is required to kick-start tourism in the aftermath of the health pandemic. If communities are empowered through models like home stays, I think tourism will spring back to life. Home stays are becoming a critical means to provide direct, supplementary or alternative income to local communities and support local businesses.”
James Lambert of Oxford Economics’ and director of Economic Consulting in Asia, is of the view that, “Airbnb is well-placed to play an important role in bringing tourists, and their spending, back to destination economies, and in supporting the earlier recovery of domestic travel by helping households, particularly those who seek to substitute an international trip with a domestic one, discover new areas in their own country to visit.”
Rishi Modi, Airbnb Host in Goa, said, “The last few months during COVID-19 have been tough but as a host community, we continue to see now, as before, the positive impact of being a bigger community through Airbnb. During a difficult time, Airbnb’s initiatives to drive business recovery in the tourism sector have helped. Whether by a Host Relief Fund that helped us tide over the impact of cancelled bookings or the recent introduction of cleanliness protocols, that help travelling communities be confident with the level of safety they are getting when they stay with us. We believe that guest confidence will gradually build up and boost bookings in the coming weeks and months.”
Gitane D’Souza, Airbnb superhost in Goa said, “My property was closed to bookings in March and it was clear as the world was in lockdown that a recovery journey would be difficult. It is heartwarming to see that travel is on its way back, led by home stays and long-term stays in locations such as Goa. With Airbnb as a partner, I am confident that my property is competitively placed as the green shoots of tourism recovery emerge.”
The report also found that Airbnb in 2019 contributed more than USD 320 million (Rs 2,200 crore) to India’s Gross Domestic Product and supported close to 50,000 local jobs in the country. Between 2015 and 2019, Airbnb guests spent a total of USD $610 million (Rs 4,500 crore) in India.