Airbnb is becoming a worldwide Olympic partner just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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The partnership — which spans nine years and five Olympic games including Beijing 2022, Paris 2024, Milan 2026, and LA 2028 summer and winter games — was formed in the hopes of generating “hundreds of thousands” of new hosts, offering local residents the chance to earn some extra cash through providing accommodation and local experiences to visiting athletes, fans, and other members of the Olympic Movement.
In a press release, IOC President Thomas Bach highlighted that “the Airbnb community will offer a more local and authentic way to immerse [visitors] in the host cities and engage with the local communities. For the cities themselves, the Airbnb community represents a more environmentally sustainable way of accommodating a surge in visitors.”
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According to the press release, the joint endeavour includes accommodation guidelines that will decrease costs for Olympic Games organizers and stakeholders, generate direct revenue for local communities and hosts, and minimize the necessity for construction of new accommodation for the period in which the games are being held.
In cooperation with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Airbnb will also champion accommodation that promotes accessibility for individuals with disabilities or other accessibility requirements.
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In the press release, IOC President Thomas Bach also stated:
This innovative partnership underpins our strategy to ensure that the efficient staging of the Olympic Games is sustainable and leaves a legacy for the host community. With Airbnb’s support, we will also develop new opportunities for athletes around the world to develop their own direct revenue streams through the promotion of physical activity and the Olympic values. Through this partnership, there will also be a direct benefit for athletes over and above the USD 5 billion the IOC is distributing during this Olympiad for their benefit to Organising Committees and sports organizations around the world.
Additionally, Airbnb and the IOC will roll out Olympian Experiences to supply direct earning opportunities for athletes, which will serve to the IOC’s goals to support athletes and place them at the forefront of the Olympic Movement.
Anticipated to launch in early 2020, the new category will consist of activities ranging from training with an Olympic athlete to exploring a city with one.
As well, the IOC will make available at least $28 million USD (~$38 million CDN) worth of accommodation over the duration of the partnership to athletes competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games for “competition-and-training-related travel.”
“On behalf of the Athletes’ Commission, I am delighted that our new global agreement with Airbnb will benefit the athletes directly,” said Kirsty Coventry, chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, in the press release. “We work to empower athletes around the world on and off the field of play, and this agreement is another example of how we are supporting and advocating for athletes throughout their career.”
Airbnb will also assist the IOC in continuing to confront the challenges faced by refugees all over the world.
The IOC has a long-lasting commitment to refugees, including a joint effort with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) since 1994, the implementation of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team for the 2016 Rio Games and Tokyo 2020, as well as the creation of the Olympic Refuge Foundation in 2017.
Airbnb has conducted its own refugee support initiatives since 2015 through its “Open Homes” programme, which links generous hosts with individuals who need temporary accommodation, including refugees.
According to the release, “To date, more than 35,000 people have been housed in times of need. Over the course of the partnership, the IOC and Airbnb will establish further programmes to provide long-term support to refugees.”
Airbnb has previously operated as a domestic sponsor for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Financial details of the partnership have not been disclosed, but the Financial Times reported that the deal was set at $500 million, citing sources briefed on the talks.