The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) and Airbnb signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) yesterday at MOTA’s offices that will introduce to The Bahamas a new Airbnb offering called the Bahamas Sabbatical, that the ministry hopes will boost The Bahamas’ profile even more.
The program invites five participants to “live like an islander” through participation in specific projects that help to “preserve the authentic cultural heritage and natural resources”, according to an Airbnb press statement.
Airbnb’s Public Policy Associate for the Caribbean and Central America Chloe Burke said during the signing ceremony that Airbnb looks forward to participating in more collaborations like this with MOTA throughout The Bahamas.
“Thanks to this MOU, the Bahamas Sabbatical is a reality and we are sure this, together with our pipeline of additional projects, will help to strengthen tourism in the country,” Burke said.
“As any visitor to these shores can attest, the islands of The Bahamas are indeed idyllic, with otherworldly natural beauty that draws you in and rich history and fascinating culture that envelops your mind, body and spirit. We are thrilled to share some of what makes this country so magical with our network of more than six million travelers and help entrench five participants in a transformational two-month experience.”
The five people, who will be chosen by a panel of judges, will be immersed in an experience tailored in part by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) across Exuma, Andros and Eleuthera, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation Joy Jibrilu said at the MOU signing ceremony.
“In Exuma, volunteers will engage in an initiative to raise awareness of the importance of fishing for the invasive species, the red lionfish, and to promote greater consumption of the red lionfish,” Jibrilu said.
“In Andros they will assist with the planting of trees under the sea in an effort to restore the Andros Barrier Reef.
“On Eleuthera, the volunteers will assist the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve to create a bush tea farm.
“The volunteers’ three-island adventure in sustainable, community-based activities will be thoroughly covered and broadcast to travel consumers worldwide.”
According to Jibrilu, Airbnb opened the sabbatical up to entrants at 12 a.m. yesterday, with an entry deadline of February 18. The sabbatical will run from April 1 to May 31, 2020.
“The net result of this initiative, along with other projects to be developed, will be the heightening of The Bahamas’ global image as an ideal destination for authentic travel adventures with significance, precisely the kind of immersive vacation experience that so many of today’s travelers are looking for,” Jibrilu said.
Burke explained that Airbnb is also looking forward to more collaboration in The Bahamas.
“We embrace The Bahamas and the opportunities to contribute to the island while continuing to leverage our platform for all and most especially for entrepreneurs, to ensure everyone who desires can participate and benefit from tourism, including the surrounding economies and ecosystems this distinctly authentic and local tourism generates,” she said.