The MoU signed in the presence of Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Union Tourism Minister, Government of India, Ms. V. Vidyavathi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Shri Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, and Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager, Airbnb India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, aims to underscore the cultural significance of India’s heritage properties and encourage travellers to embark on immersive journeys through the country’s diverse heritage.
At the heart of this partnership lies the launch of the exclusive ‘Soul of India’ microsite that showcases an array of heritage stays across the country. These heritage properties, steeped in history and architectural brilliance, offer an authentic glimpse into India’s rich cultural tapestry. Additionally, Airbnb will also offer support to Hosts in untapped tourist areas, assist them in promoting their homestays, build host capacity, and foster a culture of responsible hosting.
This year-long partnership symbolises the shared commitment of both Airbnb and the Ministry of Tourism to enhance India’s standing in the global tourism market through promotional strategies and campaigns.
Key elements of the MoU include:
- Destination Promotion – The Ministry of Tourism and Airbnb will work together on positioning India as a sought-after destination for cultural and heritage tourism, leveraging targeted domestic and international campaigns that showcase the distinctive heritage stays available throughout the country.
- ‘Soul of India’ Microsite – Airbnb will launch a dedicated ‘Soul of India’ microsite to promote heritage homes across India and share captivating stories behind the heritage properties and the destinations, with a goal to inspire visitors to embark on unique cultural adventures and immerse themselves in the unparalleled essence of India.
- Capacity Building and Insights – Airbnb will endeavour to train hospitality micro-entrepreneurs in emerging destinations that are part of the Ministry’s flagship scheme. Airbnb will also share travel and homestay insights with the Ministry of Tourism for informed responsible tourism policies and training requirements.
Highlighting the importance of promoting cultural tourism and preserving heritage sites, Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Union Tourism Minister, Government of India, said, “India’s age-old dictum “Atithi Devo Bhava” equates guests to God and what better way to extend hospitality to guests than by making them stay in homes with local communities? Homestay accommodations offer travellers a personalised, immersive and rooted-in-culture travel experience. We are delighted to partner with Airbnb, whose global reach will provide enhanced visibility to India’s unique and varied accommodation offerings and enable travellers an opportunity to experience our rich heritage first-hand. This partnership will contribute to the growth of inbound tourism, create economic opportunities for local communities and position India uniquely on the global tourism map.”
Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager – India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Airbnb, said, “We are proud to partner with the Ministry of Tourism to celebrate the Soul of India. This MoU represents an important collaboration towards unlocking new economic and social opportunities through tourism in India while bolstering the Incredible India brand and bringing the richness of what India has to offer to even more international travellers. Airbnb has consistently placed Hosts and their empowerment at its core and is pleased to see the G20 countries, led by India, sharing the same commitment to equipping communities with adequate skills and fostering responsible tourism practices.”
With the signing of this MoU, Airbnb and the Ministry of Tourism set the stage for an exciting journey that will not only promote India’s cultural heritage but also create transformative experiences for travellers, foster economic growth, and celebrate the vibrant diversity that defines India’s soul.
Airbnb was born in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to over 4 million Hosts who have welcomed 1.4 billion guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe. Every day, Hosts offer unique stays and experiences that make it possible for guests to connect with communities in a more authentic way.