Heritage Travel

Heritage Travel Can Unlock Tourism Benefits For EU Communities

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Heritage Tourism is “traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. It includes cultural, historic, and natural resources.” In other words, Heritage Tourism is a type of travel where you search for an authentic understanding of what something, or a people, was like.  Emmanuel Marill, Airbnb Regional Director for EMEA, will present to members of the European Committee of the Regions including local Mayors, and meet with the European Parliament Cultural Heritage Intergroup this week to champion the benefits of heritage travel for tourism dispersal in Europe and share an update on Airbnb’s support for the EU’s short-term rental proposal.

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The meetings come as Airbnb unveils new initiatives to grow heritage travel in Europe including funding a new European Historic Homes education programme on heritage preservation and promotion and launching a partnership with the Demeures Historiques & Jardins de Belgique to promote and boost heritage tourism in Belgium.

Airbnb has donated almost ten million euros to heritage organizations in Europe to help boost demand for heritage-related travel and launched a new Historical Homes category in May 2022, making it easier for guests to discover heritage homes in Spain, Germany, Italy, France,the UK, and now Belgium

There are around 45,000 listings* in the historical homes category and just under 70% of European historic homes on Airbnb are located in non-urban areas, helping to disperse the benefits of tourism to rural and lesser visited destinations**. A previous analysis by Airbnb on the impacts of Airbnb’s flexible search features – including ‘Categories’ such as historical homes and ‘I’m Flexible’- shows they help to divert bookings away from Europe’s most saturated tourist hotspots and peak travel dates in support of more sustainable travel trends.

“Heritage travel can play a vital role in helping to disperse tourism outside of city centers and spread the benefits of tourism to more rural areas, all whilst helping to preserve historic homes for generations to come. The typical historical home Host on Airbnb in EMEA earned around than 1,200 euros between May and September last year*** and we look forward to building on our work to support heritage travel and historic homeowners with partners in the EU in 2023.”, Emmanuel Marill, Airbnb Regional Director for EMEA

Airbnb’s work on heritage in the EU also includes: Heritage Travel

  • Donations totaling almost €10 million to heritage associations across Europe to boost heritage tourism and help restore some of the continent’s most important historical attractions and homes. Donations have been made in France, the UK, Spain, Italy and Germany.
  • The restoration of a traditional townhouse in the historic town of Sambuca, bringing an abandoned ‘1 euro house ‘ back to life with the aim of boosting tourism as part of a wider commitment to support rural communities and cultural heritage in Europe.
  • Showcasing Europe’s rich architectural heritage by offering guests the opportunity to stay in landmark heritage buildings such as Weissenstein Palace in Germany and Villa Balbiano in Italy.
  • The launch of the Heritage Academy in France, Italy and Spain, giving prospective Hosts a dedicated toolkit and a personal Host ambassador to offer bespoke training and advice on how to become a Historical Homes Host.
  • An epic slow travel journey connecting remarkable historic homes across Europe, shining a spotlight on the appeal of heritage travel through a specially curated railway adventure in partnership with Interrail.

Airbnb is also working with policy-makers from across the EU on establishing and enforcing fair and transparent STR rules and believes the EU short-term rental proposal is a major step forward that can introduce clear, simple and harmonized rules that unlock the benefits of hosting for European families and give governments the information they need to clamp down on speculators and over-tourism.

The 3 main types of Heritage Tourism sites are natural, cultural, and built

Natural heritage sites include landforms and rural scenery, cultural heritage tourism involves attending festivals or a place that sells traditional products, and built heritage sites encompass places such as monuments and historic homes. Through studying, volunteering, interning and teaching abroad there are several different ways in which you can engage with the different types of historic travel and heritage tourism.


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