Airbnb #WomenInTravel; Philippines is second-largest women-powered Host community in the world

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

My first solo traveling experience was unexpected. It was in Autumn of 2016, and I was all set for Korea when my friend had to back out because of health issues. 

My first solo trip, I stayed in an Airbnb guesthouse while in Seoul

Read my first solo travel experiences here.

All our plane fares, accommodations, and travel preps were all ready, so I decided to just push through with it. I spent a few nights in Seoul, but also flew to Jeju Island for a few nights. It was my second time in Korea, but my first time to go alone and with the eyes of a fan girl. 

Went to the Garden of Morning Calm on my first night, and it was all lighted up!

My taxi driver offered to take my photos with Jeju's famous beach as background

It was actually one of those pivotal moments in my life. I stayed in an Airbnb guesthouse, met "travel angels" along the way, and experienced being truly happy inwards--with the company of my self. If that trip didn't happen around 7 years ago, I don't think I'll be where I am in life right now. I really think solo traveling brought out the best in me.

Airbnb today revealed that its Host community in the Philippines is its second-largest women-powered Host community in the world after New Zealand. Women make up for two thirds of all Airbnb Hosts* in the country — proof that Filipinas are powering the local tourism industry now more than ever. 

Airbnb Senior Communications Manager for Southeast Asia Cheryl Tay, Philippine Commission on Women Gender and Development representative Anne Jeaneth Casalme, Mayor of Quezon City Honorable Maria Josefina “Joy” Belmonte, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan Mich Goh, Philippine Coast Guard officer and renowned mountaineer Noelle Wenceslao, Airbnb Host and content creator Colleen Vidal

Known for their iconic warmth and hospitality, Filipinos – and especially Filipinas – are increasingly contributing to the country’s tourism economy by welcoming travelers into their homes, and employing fellow women to support them in their daily operations.  Hosting is also providing a significant financial opportunity amidst rising costs of living, with Filipina Hosts collectively earning over Php 2.5 billion in 2022*.  

Women are a cornerstone in Airbnb’s guest and Host community and comprise 55% of all Hosts globally.* They also comprise 40% of Airbnb’s 1 million Superhosts**, who provide guests with outstanding hospitality in more than 200 countries and territories. Solo travel is also gaining momentum in the Philippines. In the Philippines, 56% of all solo traveler nights in 2022 were booked by women.  

Timed to International Women’s Month this year, Airbnb is celebrating the growing role of women in driving greater equity in the Philippines travel and tourism industry. The global hospitality platform today launched its inaugural #WomenInTravel industry dialogue discussing how travel is challenging stereotypes and breaking boundaries, as more Filipinas take action to uplift and empower new generations of Filipinas in the travel and tourism industry.  

Earlier at the first Airbnb #WomenInTravel dialogue at the Gallery by Chele

Travel Ready! Lavender Kodak Film Camera and Airbnb credits for all the guests!

They served us a full four-course meal during the event

Speakers included Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; Honorable Maria Josefina “Joy” Belmonte, Mayor of Quezon City; Anne Jeaneth Casalme, Philippine Commission on Women Gender and Development representative; Noelle Wenceslao, Philippine Coast Guard officer, mountaineer, and the first Filipina to summit Mount Everest; and Colleen Vidal, tourism entrepreneur, Airbnb Host, and Filipina content creator.

Highlighting the importance of Airbnb’s women-powered Host community in the Philippines, Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan said, “Women Hosts are playing an increasingly pivotal role in the travel and tourism sector, and especially in the Philippines. We are heartened to see more and more women open their homes to travelers and provide the authentic hospitality that Filipinos are renowned for. As more Pinays step up to lead our Host communities and share hosting tips with one another, we remain committed to supporting and growing our Pinay Host community and ensuring that their roles in contributing to the industry are recognized.”  

Honorable Maria Josefina “Joy” Belmonte, Mayor of Quezon City shared, “Quezon City is committed to ensuring that every woman is recognized, empowered and celebrated through various initiatives that promote economic empowerment, equality in business and livelihood opportunities for all genders, including women tourism entrepreneurs. We will continue to be a leader and model of local governance to create a society that is inclusive and unbiased. We look forward to industry players such as Airbnb supporting our goal to make Quezon City and the Philippines a go-to destination, with women at the forefront of tourism development.”

Each of these women inspired me so much today! What an insightful discussion. I remembered the first time I travelled solo, and why I fell in love with it. ♥

Enjoyed listening to these women's stories

Echoing the need to drive more visibility of Filipinas in the tourism industry, Philippine Commission on Women Gender and Development representative Anne Jeaneth Casalme added, "The Philippine Commission on Women fully supports initiatives to empower Filipinas in the tourism sector. We are excited to see companies like Airbnb showcasing their expertise in tourism development and promotion of women entrepreneurship in the country while advocating the safety of women tourism travelers. We look forward to more discussions on women's sector development with the private sector in the country."  

Philippine Coast Guard officer and renowned mountaineer Noelle Wenceslao added, “Throughout my years in the Coast Guard, I’ve worked alongside so many diverse and strong women, including a two-time Olympian, a world champion dragon boat paddler, women rescue divers and bomb squad members. To top it off, they are mothers – proving that stereotypes exist only if we allow them to.” On being the first Filipino to summit Everest, Noelle shared that she drew strength by looking at the journey as her ‘highest’ goal, “I believe everyone has their own Mount Everest, an ultimate goal we want to achieve. It took me three years of preparation and three months on expedition to spend just thirty minutes on the summit, but it meant so much that the long preparation was nothing compared to what I felt when I conquered it.”  

Colleen Vidal, Airbnb Host, and content creator, shared her journey from content creator to travel entrepreneur, “When I first started creating travel content, I wanted to share tips to guide my followers on how best to plan their vacations. Along the way, I realised that I could provide these very accommodations and activities – and that’s how my journey as a tourism entrepreneur came about. Throughout the years that I have called Siargao my home, I have learned that us locals make up its very soul. Promoting the island’s travel offerings has meant giving back more economic opportunities to local communities, while also helping tourists experience what Siargao is all about.”  

What an empowering afternoon! Thank you Airbnb for hosting this event.

To more solo adventures and women making a difference in their own ways!

*Based on internal Airbnb data from January to December 2022 

**Refers to Hosts who held Superhosts status and identified themselves as women as of September 30, 2022

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