The sharing economy is a socio-economic ecosystem that is built around the sharing of human, physical and intellectual resources. It is the way in which people rent or borrow goods and services rather than buying or owning them.
Experiences Over Ownership
It is a new world people! The youth or AKA "millennials" have been paving the future as trends now show people are placing more values on experiences over ownership. The sharing of access to goods and services, facilitated by a community-based online platform has become an easy and effective way to reduce environmental impacts while encouraging community participation and profit. Now a days you can share anything from houses, experiences, transportation, clothes, and even someone's garage tools with a simple click. It's all about convenience without the consumption!
Sharing Economy & Sustainable Travel
One of the points we mentioned earlier was active participation of communities and locals. This is huge in the sharing economy as this has provided a great source of income for communities in tourist destinations. More often times than not, corporate tourism and their massive hotels have taken away from local profit.
BUT, with resources like Airbnb and VRBO provide a unique way to support locals while traveling. It not only provides an income to the communities we visit, but also allows for local interaction with tourists for mutual benefits. Airbnb recently added an 'experience' category that travelers can pay for to experience what the local hosts have to offer. Wether that be a local tour, a home cooked meal, or whatever experience you can think of they got it. This is such a cool an intimate way to experience a destination from the lives of a local. This also creates more meaningful and authentic experiences that compliment sustainable tourism. PEOPLE, PLANET, AND PROSPERITY!
Safer Option In Pandemic Times
Another point to mention, especially in these times of global pandemic, the sharing economy is a safe way to participate in travel. Often times, when sharing homes there is little to no contact with the host. Compared to packed hotels, staying in a place all to yourself is quite appealing to those not interested in sharing their personal spaces with others. Not to mention, house and room renting is a great way to travel and experience places locally instead of globally.
Of course there are cons to the sharing economy to discuss, but also many pros that could be the solution to a more sustainable future of travel!