Airbnb expects to generate €340bn for European communities by 2020

The home-sharing company also said it will create 1 million jobs across the region by that year

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The Independent Online

Airbnb has said that it expects to boost communities in Europe, which is its biggest market, by an estimated €340bn (£297bn) of economic output by 2020 and that it will support an estimated 1 million jobs across the region by that year. 

The home-sharing company, which was founded in 2008 and now operates in more than 65,000 cities across 191 countries, said that local hosts keep 97 per cent of the accommodation charges paid by guests and more than half of guest spending takes place in the communities where they stay.

The typical host on Airbnb in Europe made €2,400 by sharing their space for 27 nights last year, according to the company.

On Thursday, Airbnb, which is valued at about $31bn (£24bn), also said that it was launching a new ‘Community Tourism Programme’ with the aim of investing €5m in projects “to help preserve and boost the best of local customs, traditions and landmarks that make communities unique”.

That fund will be made available to charities, non-profit agencies and community social groups to support local projects. 

“We want to work with communities to help boost and preserve the qualities that make them unique,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s global head of public policy and public affairs. 

Airbnb projects that, by 2020, an estimated 24 million stays between hosts and guests from different countries across Europe will take place using the platform.

“I firmly believe there is a special responsibility for platforms and technology companies to project the principles their communities hold dear,” Mr Lehane said. 

“We see it as our duty and privilege to continue working with communities and leaders in Europe and across the world to help support local families, boost communities and use technology to help bring people together.”

Airbnb has enjoyed an explosive expansion since its formation almost a decade ago, but has recently faced challenges in the form of regulatory crackdowns across some countries. 

It has also been embroiled in clashes with municipal governments in New York, Barcelona and its home town of San Francisco, but earlier this month Japan’s government passed a law that sets out rules for home sharing allowing Airbnb to operate. 

A tourism boom has reportedly cut into Japan’s supply of available hotel rooms and helped make the country one of Airbnb’s fastest-growing market. 

Elsewhere, Airbnb is trying to diversify beyond home-sharing. 

In November last year it confirmed that it had a flight-booking tool and an itinerary-planning feature in the works. In February, it acquired a Canadian manager of high-end rentals and services called Luxury Retreats. 

Last year it also started offering travel experiences, which aim to provide tourists with access to local communities and places of interest.