Having recognized the growing interest in animal-related travel, Airbnb — an online marketplace for arranging or offering lodging, primarily homestays or tourism experiences — unveiled Airbnb Animal Experiences, a new category of Airbnb Experiences that allows people to better understand animals through caring, expert hosts and set a new standard for animal tourism.
Airbnb envisions a world where everyone can belong anywhere. Joining more than 40,000 Airbnb Experiences available across 1,000 cities worldwide, Airbnb Animal Experiences are underpinned by a new, industry-leading animal welfare policy, created in collaboration with World Animal Protection, an organization committed to improving the lives of animals. Animals should be appreciated for their intrinsic value, and this new animal welfare policy has been designed to ensure their well-being at all times.
“We know people love animals and want to see and experience them when they travel, but we also know they most want to see animals in a setting that respects their well-being,” said Alesia Soltanpanah, executive director World Animal Protection. “This new animal welfare policy created in consultation with our animal welfare experts combined with the creativity and dedication of Airbnb will ensure that adventurers have many options to experience the beauty of animals in a way that considers their welfare first.”
Airbnb Animal Policy Highlights include:
- Wild animals: there should be no direct contact including, but not limited to, petting, feeding or riding animals
- Working animals: maximum one rider and never more than 20% of the animal’s weight, never to be overworked
- Marine mammals: should never bein captivity for entertainment
- Broader host business: should not feature elephant rides, big cat interactions, illegal wildlife trade, sporting events such as canned and trophy hunting, animals performing for entertainment
- Responsible travel:no wild animals as selfie props or any negative training techniques
With 1,000 Experiences co-hosted by more than 300 species and their human advocates, guests can now paddleboard with corgis, kayak with conservationists, learn alongside urban beekeepers, skateboard with a world record-winning bulldog, have afternoon tea with naughty sheep or go on multi-day safaris! Airbnb Animal Experiences offers a fresh way to connect with animals near and far, so that even busy urbanites can reconnect with the natural world through hiking with rescue dogs, chilling out with alpacas or cuddling cows. Guests will meet animals in places that allow for gentle observation and bring a sense of connection far beyond animal selfies or performances. For those seeking more adventure, guests can discover arctic foxes or even help rescue puppies lost within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
Beyond helping people get to better understand animals and meet them in a new way, over 100 Airbnb Animal Experiences are Social Impact Experiences, cementing the commitment to animals in the long term by directing all proceeds from bookings to nonprofits. Supporting causes such as conservation, animal rescue and veterinary care, these Experiences help scale impact, foster empathy and include caring for rescued horses, seeing released macaws and spending a day with donkeys.
Other notable Airbnb Animal Experiences will come to life both on and offline through an exclusive partnership with The Dodo, the leading brand for mobile animal content in the U.S. and one of the world’s most-engaged media brands on social.
“With technology taking up so much of our lives, it’s easy to feel disconnected from nature and animals,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and co-founder. “Maybe this is why social media is dominated by animal memes. Life is better with animals, but for many busy people, looking at them through a screen is the closest they can get. With Airbnb Animal Experiences, locals and travelers are just a few clicks away from being alongside them in the real world.”
OTHER ANIMAL EXPERIENCES HIGHLIGHTS:
- New Zealand Getaway and Horseplay (Auckland, New Zealand)
- Gibbon Research Assistant Experience (Phuket, Thailand)
- Butterflies and Caterpillars Oh My! (Columbus, Ohio)
- Meet Life-Saving Animals (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
- Ultimate Cape Town Birding (Cape Town, South Africa)
- Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari (Brooklyn, New York)
- Go on a Safari with a Maasai Guide (Nakuru, Kenya)
- Hike Runyon Canyon with a Rescue Dog (Los Angeles, California)
- A Day in a Gaucho’s Life in the Andes (Mendoza, Argentina)
To mark the launch of Airbnb Animal Experiences, eight lucky individuals will get the chance to book the gig of a lifetime. For just $50 per person, guests can join the band KISS as they rock out in the open ocean to great white sharks. Researching animals and their interests, Airbnb learned that great white sharks are big fans of rock music (go figure!). Guests will have the opportunity to witness the sharks underwater in the boat’s aqua sub and enjoy the ocean’s most intimate concert, while also helping to raise money for a good cause (with 100% of proceeds going to the Australian Marine Conservation Society). Learn more here.
Photo credit: Airbnb