Thursday, April 18, 2019

Puerto Rico Tourism Co. urges participation in Airbnb Open Homes program

By on August 6, 2018

(Screen capture of https://www.airbnb.com/openhomes)

SAN JUAN – Airbnb and International Rescue Group are holding events Monday and Tuesday “to learn how you can better prepare for and respond to a disaster, and use your extra space to help your community respond and recover,” according to the event webpages.

The events are intended to promote Airbnb’s Open Homes program, in which extra space, such as a spare bedroom or guest house, is offered to those displaced or relief workers deployed to respond to a disaster. Those “who are in need of free, temporary accommodations” can search for and request to book available space on the hospitality marketplace.

The sessions will be held Monday, Aug. 6, at 6:30 p.m., in Room AE 242 of the Business Administration area of the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez University Campus and on Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 6:30 p.m., at the Engineers & Land Surveyors Association, at 500 Ingeniero Antolín Nin Martínez St. in San Juan.

After disaster preparedness sessions, Airbnb will give a brief presentation about the Open Homes program.

“The extension of the Open Homes program to Puerto Rico demonstrates a firm commitment by Airbnb to join the preparation and response plans for emergency situations or natural disasters. Since a formal alliance was established between the Tourism Company of Puerto Rico and Airbnb in August 2017, not only have they managed to raise about $2.7 million to date in room-occupancy taxes through the platform, but we have also kept working in close collaboration to bring innovative concepts and programs to the island that allow us to strengthen our tourism offer,” Tourism Co. Director Carla Campos said in a release issued by the government corporation that deals with internal tourism and its regulations.

“Airbnb is committed to ensuring that our hosts are prepared for disasters, as well as ensuring that our Open Homes program is available to communities affected by these crises,” Kellie Bentz, senior Airbnb Response and Disaster Relief manager, added.

“International Rescue Group is proud to partner with the world’s largest hospitality platform to help shelter Caribbean residents and rescue personnel after hurricanes and other regional disasters. While Open Homes is just beginning in the Caribbean, we hope to reach hundreds of thousands in the region, and invite all interested parties to get involved in this powerful initiative,” IRG Housing Director Carol Greenhouse said.

Since 2012, the Airbnb host community has provided free temporary housing to thousands who have been displaced by disasters, conflict and other unexpected situations.

To RSVP to the event in Mayagüez, go to www.abnb.co/prmeetup1. For the San Juan event Tuesday, go to www.abnb.co/prmeetup2.

For more information, visit airbnb.com/openhomes

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