Airbnb offers helping hand to Puerto Rico tourism

Airbnb is planning new ways to get back Puerto Rico on tourist map after hurricanes shattered the island and its tourism. The plan was revealed by Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky in an event on Wednesday. Airbnb will be introducing 50 new ‘experiences’ and activities hosted by people of Puerto Rico where the travellers can book these through app and participate.

Brian Chesky said that Airbnb has used its platform previously in relief efforts, like providing housing for those in need during 100 disasters around the world. For the next three months, Airbnb will be also donating the entire booking fees for Puerto Rico to relief organizations including All Hands and Hearts, a non-profit organization helping communities recover from natural disasters. Airbnb will also be partnering with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company to support tourism and let the world know the island is ready to welcome all.

“Boricuas love to show off the island,” Milaida Hernandez, an Airbnb host, said during the event. She had hosted a guest who was unable to leave the island during one of the hurricanes. Everyone who attended the event discussed how the island is still struggling to make progress. Chesky and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló even stressed on the importance of tourism to the island’s economy.

Rosselló expects seven percent growth in Puerto Rico’s economy by next year. He also revealed the plan of ‘energy 2.0 system’ that would enable renewable source of energies to power up 40-45 percent of the territory’s energy. He also said that the storm has made people aware what the small island can offer.

Last year the hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island. Almost 23,000 people on the island are still struggling without electricity due to failure of the power grid. “I never imagined that I would live to see the level of devastation that Maria left in Puerto Rico. Those 18 hours changed the course of our history forever,” said Maria Cuba, Experiences Global Diversity Head, Airbnb.