Global hospitality services provider Airbnb has signed-up with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to provide tourists with local and traditional experiences in the country through the ‘Airbnb Experiences’ platform.
Travellers can choose from more than 40 ‘Airbnb Experiences’ in Sri Lanka designed and led by local experts, Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb’s Country Manager for India and Sri Lanka said at the MoU signing event.
“Our Sri Lankan hosts offer a wide range of experiences, from heritage trails in Galle to surfing experiences in Mirissa, and adventure walks in Sri Lanka’s national parks to discovering the best local food spots in Colombo,” Bajaj said.
The experiences on offer would include local cuisines, water sports, walk around heritage monuments and tours of wildlife sanctuaries among others, all arranged by local people who are partners with Airbnb.
The company further said, under its ‘Social Impact’ category of experience, it would facilitate tourists experiences such as visit to a traditional small-scale industry such as a handloom industry, adding that Airbnb would charge any commission on such experiences.
“We are excited to work with Airbnb to promote experiences in Sri Lanka and we are of the view that an engagement of this nature would be of great value to the tourism industry of Sri Lanka,” Kavan Ratnayaka, Chairman, SLTDA.
Airbnb’s APAC Head of Strategic Partnerships, Thao Nguyen said: “Through the partnership announced today, we’re excited to work with the Sri Lankan government to promote tourism that is local, authentic and sustainable.”
The ‘Airbnb Experiences’ platform was launched in 2016 with 500 experiences across 12 cities globally and now the platform offers over 15,000 experiences in over 800 cities, Bajaj said. In India, he said, the platform has been launched in Delhi and Goa so far.
“By the end of this year, we will have expanded into at least a thousand around the world,” he added.
Airbnb previously partnered the Tourism Authority of Thailand on a similar initiative for local accommodation, but the collaboration in Sri Lanka is the first in Asia where the home-sharing giant is working with a NTO to onboard local experience hosts.