Airbnb, the online platform that lets property owners rent their places primarily for short-term stays, is launching an office to tackle tourist overcrowding around the world.

The company, which has often been accused of driving up mass tourism and altering the culture of global cities through an influx of tourists, announced on Tuesday that it is launching the Office of Healthy Tourism to promote what it calls more authentic and sustainable travel. Over the last year, over 31 million people stayed in Airbnb homes in the US while there are currently 4.85 million listings on its site globally (Airbnb says it has rental listings in a staggering 191 countries).

“With travel and tourism growing faster than most of the rest of economy, it is critical that as many people as possible are benefiting – and right now not all tourism is created equal,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s Head of Global Policy, in a statement. “In order to democratize the benefits of travel, Airbnb offers a healthy alternative to the mass travel that has plagued cities for decades.”

The idea, according to the company, is to encourage tourism to lesser-known parts of the world while also making sure the influx of visitors benefits those communities. Over the last year, the home-sharing company has taken on similar missions by launching programs that bring visitors to rural villages in Japan, Italy and China.

Now, Airbnb’s new office is set to launch more such programs for less-visited parts of the world. The company also appointed a Tourism Advisory Board to make sure that mission stays on track. Former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai, former Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr and Chief Executive of EON Reality Inc. David Scowsill have been appointed as its members.

In an effort to show that it takes sustainable tourism seriously, the company also released new community data, which showed that 66 percent of guests found the environmental impact important in their choice of deciding where to stay. 89 percent chose Airbnb because they found it more conveniently located than various hotels.

“Airbnb supports tourism that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable,” said Lehane. “[…] Airbnb is providing the type of travel that is best for destinations, residents, and travelers alike.”

The start to 2018 has been an eventful one for Airbnb — since January, the company has delayed plans to go public, launched new services for high-end travelers and won the right to have homeowners list the money generated from hosting on the platform as income on mortgage applications.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription