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Airbnb’s Flexible Search boosts sustainable travel in Europe



Decentralized: Travelers are choosing more rural stays, skipping popular European destinations, says report | Photo: Veerasak Piyawatanakul

A first-ever analysis of the impacts of Airbnb’s flexible search features – including ‘Categories’ and ‘I’m Flexible’ – shows they are diverting bookings away from Europe’s most saturated tourist hotspots and peak travel dates in support of more sustainable travel trends, according to a company report released at Web Summit last week by Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. 

Airbnb launched its flexible search tools Categories (May 2022), I’m Flexible (May 2021) and I’m (Even More) Flexible (November 2021) to create a new way to search for travel and provide a tech-driven solution to mass tourism by helping guests discover homes and communities beyond saturated tourist hotspots and at different times of the year. Around 1 in 20 stays on Airbnb are currently booked using flexible search features.

The new report ‘How Airbnb Supports Sustainable Travel In Europe’ includes the first analysis of the impacts of Airbnb’s flexible search tools on dispersing travel. It shows a shift in bookings from several top destinations to less popular destinations—both across destination cities, and across neighborhood destinations within cities. This trend is continuing despite a general resumption of pre-pandemic travel patterns. Early insights and highlights include:

Flexible search is also helping to redirect guests approximately five miles farther away from their initial intended location within cities, compared to traditional searchers on Airbnb. Neighborhood-level analyses of flexible search users for the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Lisbon, London, Prague and Rome show a consistent shift from booking in the most popular neighborhoods in favor of bookings on the outskirts of the cities or in other areas altogether: 

In Amsterdam, flexible bookers more often stay outside the city’s inner limits (+32.5%) compared to traditional bookers, whereas in Barcelona, flexible bookers are less likely to book in the two most popular areas of Eixample and Ciutat Vella than traditional bookers (respectively, -7.1% and -13.4%).

In Lisbon, Portugal, flexible bookers are more likely to stay outside of the city center compared to traditional bookers (+42.6%) and less likely to stay in the most touristic districts of Santa Maria Major and Mesericordia (respectively, -20.1% and -15.8%). And in London, flexible bookers are more likely to stay outside of the City of London (+29% compared to traditional bookers) and less likely to stay in the most popular districts of Westminster and Camden (respectively, -17.8% and -23.9%).

Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb Co-Founder, launched the report during the Web Summit 2022 | Photo: Stephen McCarthy

’’We want Airbnb to be part of the solution to challenges associated with the growth of tourism, and to support sustainable travel trends,” said Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “We are encouraged by the early insights into the impacts of flexible search, which are spreading guests and the benefits of tourism beyond busy tourist hotspots. Airbnb will continue to invest in the growth of flexible search to support the responsible and sustainable growth of travel, while making it easier for anyone, anywhere to become a Host on Airbnb.”, says Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer

The early analysis of flexible search on Airbnb highlights an acceleration of already sustainable, decentralized travel trends on Airbnb in Europe, which are primarily driven by European guests. The profile of guests using Airbnb in Europe is more European than at any point in Airbnb’s history. As Airbnb’s guest profile in Europe has become more European, travel has become more dispersed. In 2019, the top 10 most visited cities on Airbnb in the EU – including Paris, Barcelona and Rome – accounted for 20 percent of all trips in Europe, whereas they account for just 14 percent of trips in 2022. The popularity of rural stays has also grown, increasing by 55 percent when comparing the first three quarters of 2019 to the same period in 2022.

EuroNewsweek is a dynamic news platform featuring lifestyle, sustainability, successful stories, tech, leadership, creative marketing, business, and the unstoppable people behind them.

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EU journalism prize awarded for investigation into migrant boat shipwreck



EU Parliament journalism prize awarded for investigation into migrant boat shipwreck
A Greek, German and British consortium has won the 2023 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for investigating journalism.

A Greek, German and British consortium has won the 2023 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for investigating the Adriana shipwreck, which left over 600 migrants dead off Pylos in Greece.

The joint investigation by the Greek investigative outlet Solomon, in collaboration with Forensis, the German public broadcaster StrgF/ARD, and the British newspaper The Guardian revealed how the deadliest migrant shipwreck in recent history happened as a result of the actions taken by the Greek Coast Guard. It also reveals inconsistencies in the Greek authorities’ official accounts.

Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, Pina Picierno, Vice-President responsible for the Prize, and Juliane Hielscher, President of the Berlin Press Club and representative of the 28 members of the independent European-wide Jury, participated in the award ceremony held in the Daphne Caruana Galizia Press Room of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

“Today, as every year, we honour Daphne Caruana Galizia’s memory with a prize that is a powerful reminder of her fight for truth and justice. Journalists around the world continue to be targeted just for doing their job, but they refuse to be silenced. This Parliament stands by their side in this long-standing battle to safeguard press freedom and media pluralism in Europe and beyond”, said Metsola.

When accepting the prize on behalf of the winning consortium, Iliana Papangeli of Solomon said: “The fatal event has forced us to confront questions about so-called European values and where the EU really stands on protecting human life – regardless of passport, ethnicity, race, gender, disability, or class. This joint investigation showed how violent and restrictive EU migration policies are, ultimately leading to a massive loss of life”.

Between 3 May and 31 July 2023, more than 700 journalists from the 27 EU countries submitted their stories for consideration. Twelve of these submissions were shortlisted by the jury before the overall winner was decided.

About the winning story

The investigation took an in-depth look into the events surrounding the loss of the fishing trawler Adriana on 14 June this year some 50 nautical miles off Pylos, in south-western Greece, killing over 600 migrants who had left Libya some days earlier.

Over 20 interviews were made with survivors, and court documents and coastguard sources were looked into. The findings detail missed rescue opportunities and offers of assistance that were ignored, whereas the survivors’ testimonies indicate that it was the attempts by the Greek coastguard to tow the trawler that ultimately caused its sinking. The Greek coastguard denied that it attempted to tow the trawler.

The fateful night was simulated by Forensis using interactive 3D modelling of the trawler thanks to data from the coastguard’s log and testimony of the coast guard vessel’s captain, as well as from flight paths, maritime traffic data, satellite imagery and videos taken by nearby shipping vessels and other sources.

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Three countries to receive over €450 million in EU aid after natural disasters



Photo of a small city in Romania
Romania will receive €33.9 million following damage caused by severe 2022 drought | Photo : Mircea Solomiea

The European Parliament has approved nearly €455 million in EU Solidarity Fund aid in response to recent natural disasters in Romania, Italy and Türkiye.

MEPs expressed their “deepest solidarity with all the victims, their families and all the individuals affected” by the natural disasters in Romania, Italy and Türkyie. They pointed out to the “increasing number of severe and destructive natural disasters in Europe”, stressing that “due to climate change extreme weather events such as those observed in Romania and Italy resulting in emergencies are going to further intensify and multiply”.

The European Commission has proposed to use the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to grant financial assistance of € 454,835,030to the three countries. EUSF assistance will cover parts of the costs of emergency and recovery operations like repairing damaged infrastructure, securing preventive infrastructure and the protection of cultural heritage, as well as clean-up operations. Under the fund’s rules, emergency and recovery operations may be financed by the EUSF retroactively from day one of a disaster.

The aid package was approved by 593 votes in favour, 11 votes against and 22 abstentions.

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Writing competition for children in the UK is open for submissions



Photo of children in a classroom taking part in a writing activity
Primary school aged children from across the UK can submit their own original short story until 8pm Friday 10 November

A writing competition for children in the UK is currently receiving submissions.

Primary school aged children from across the UK can submit their own original short until 8pm Friday 10 November. 

The competition, which is supported by BBC Teach, encourages children of all abilities to dive deep into their imagination and write the story they would love to read in 500 words or less, without fear of spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. 

Competition prizes

50 finalists, along with their parents or carers, will be invited to attend the grand final in February 2024 at Buckingham Palace. The event will be shown as part of a special 500 Words programme with The One Show on World Book Day®, Thursday 7 March 2024.  

At the event, the bronze, silver and gold winners of both age groups, 5-7 and 8-11, will receive a selection of exciting prizes, including having their stories read by famous faces and a bundle of books to help continue their love of the written word. 

The two gold winners will receive not only the height of judge, Sir Lenny Henry, in books, but 500 books for their schools.

Silver winners will get their hands on the height of Her Majesty in books, and bronze winners will receive the average height of a 7 or 11 year old in books. 

All of their stories will be illustrated by children’s illustrators – Joelle Avelino, Axel Scheffler, Fiona Lumbers, Sue Cheung, Jamie Smart, and Steven Lenton – framed, and put into a 500 Words winners’ book. 

Every finalist will receive a £20 National Book Token and their stories will be recorded and published to the BBC Teach website.  

“We are delighted to be running this year’s 500 Words competition. It goes to the heart of everything we do in BBC Education. Ever since it began, the short story writing competition has always been for every child, no matter what their ability. It is all about creativity with no need to worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar”, says Helen Foulkes, Head of BBC Education.

Every story will be entered into a random draw, where one lucky winner will receive a ticket to the grand final, and their school will receive a bundle of 500 books and literacy wall art of their choice. 

Since the competition first launched in 2011, it has received over one million entries.

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