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Airbnb and SPARK! Team Up to Empower Women Tourism Entrepreneurs in PH

Airbnb and SPARK!, a women’s entrepreneurship-focused NGO, announced a partnership to promote women’s entrepreneurship in tourism and further enhance the dynamic hospitality landscape of the country.

This collaboration underscores a joint commitment to foster women entrepreneurship in the tourism industry through year-long capacity-building initiatives, tailored to the specificities of local government units (LGU) across the nation. By strengthening the skills and competencies of women tourism entrepreneurs, this initiative aspires to propel the tourism ecosystem forward while creating avenues for individual prosperity.

Airbnb and SPARK!

Women graduates of the pilot program launched in Quezon City

The collaboration is also underpinned by a robust investment of USD $100,000 from Airbnb, specifically earmarked for fostering women’s entrepreneurship in collaboration with SPARK!. This funding underscores Airbnb’s commitment to developing a sustainable tourism model that not only enhances the industry but also supports the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs at its core. This strategic investment aims to unlock new opportunities for women and bolster the entire tourism ecosystem of the country.

Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan said, “With the Philippines leading the pack with the second largest women-led Airbnb Host community globally, this partnership for us goes beyond agreements; it is a unified mission to uplift women and enhance the backbone of our tourism industry. Through joint efforts in developing strategies and interventions, we aim to foster an environment where women-led entrepreneurship thrives.”

Arlene Alipio, Director, the Office of Industry Manpower Development, Department of Tourism said, “Central to the mission of the Department of Tourism is the empowerment of women as entrepreneurs as we recognize the importance of ensuring that women are not only included but empowered to thrive within the tourism industry. Private and public sector partnerships like Airbnb’s initiative showcase the transformative power of education in unlocking opportunities for economic growth and development, thereby enabling a more inclusive and equitable tourism landscape.”

Airbnb and SPARK!

From L-R: Maica Teves, Philippines Executive Director, SPARK!, Honorable Joy Belmonte, Mayor of Quezon City, and Mich Goh, Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Airbnb

SPARK!, a catalyst for women’s empowerment, will implement the training programs that are integral to this partnership. Additionally, SPARK! will also focus on job-matching and providing access to gainful employment opportunities within the tourism sector. Their expertise will bridge the gap between professional training and actual industry needs, ensuring women are not just trained but are also seamlessly integrated into tourism-related roles.

“Our commitment extends beyond training; we are dedicated to creating a pathway for women to access meaningful and empowering opportunities may it be through employment or entrepreneurship or both. This partnership reinforces our mission to foster a supportive network and bridge the gap between skills and employment,” said Maica Teves, Philippines Executive Director, SPARK!.

Airbnb and SPARK!

From L-R: Maica Teves, Annavie Lapitan, Director, Office of Special Concerns, Department of Tourism, Arlene Alipio, Director, Office of Industry Manpower Development, Department of Tourism, Mich Goh, and Honorable Joy Belmonte

“Women are the perfect ambassadors for tourism. We are grateful for the continuous support of SPARK! Philippines, now in partnership with Airbnb to support our local women entrepreneurs who are in the tourism and hospitality management industry. Through this program, we hope that more women can explore business models that would boost local tourism, generate more job opportunities, and contribute to the development of the city.” said Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte.

This partnership is envisioned as a cornerstone for fostering a flourishing ecosystem of women-led entrepreneurship, paving the way for a more diverse and sustainable tourism ecosystem. This year-long partnership was launched first through a pilot program in Quezon City through a partnership with SPARK!, and supported by the Quezon City government.

Mich Goh added, “Our commitment echoes beyond today’s announcement. By empowering women, we cultivate a sense of ownership and shared responsibility, ultimately creating a community of empowered women and a thriving tourism industry.”

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