Airbnb: Vital To Expose The Students To Tourism

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An Airbnb executive yesterday said it was critical to expose Bahamian students to tourism opportunities as part of its responsibility as a “21st century company”.

Chloe Burke, the vacation rental facilitator’s public policy associate with responsibility for the Caribbean and Central America, teamed with the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) to host a special assembly at CC Sweeting High School to highlight potential careers with Airbnb.

Explaining that the event had two goals, she said these were “one, that you learn something new, and that there are other opportunities, and two, it is important to see people that look like you. It is a good reference point.

“This is really important to me, and really important to the company. We are really committed to being a 21st century company, and that means working with diverse stakeholders including those in the communities that we serve and operate in.”

Ms Burke added: “For me, I get to work in a number of projects of all scales, and this is one of the most fulfilling. I am delighted to be here, and I think what we are seeing from the surveys some students gave in is that someone they knew in the tourism sector was just a valet or someone who worked in the restaurant sector. But now they have met an engineer and would consider careers along those avenues, so that’s exciting.”

Suzanne Pattusch, the BHTA’s executive vice-president, told Tribune Business: “We are here because we definitely think this is important. You heard a lot of the kids today asking about how do we get there, and what advice do you have and what can you share with us.

“Consistent with the same mandate that the BHTA has with its junior hotelier programme and the teacher’s internship programme, which strives to connect industry with students, this follows that same concept... because Airbnb is definitely one of the most dynamic and strong players in their space in our tourism economy.

“Being able to give them that real life insight, and that portal of understanding for how do I get there, what is expected of me and what opportunities are available, from an employment standpoint is important.”

Ms Pattusch said students could “grow” into becoming Airbnb hosts or influence someone in their network that they can assist with entering the vacation rental market.

Youri Kemp,
The Tribune
March 4, 2020