Celebrating the Simple Power of People-to-People Exchanges

This week, leading government officials from the United States and China are gathering in Beijing, China for the seventh annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) — an annual conversation that underscores the importance that the United States and China place on deepening engagement and exposure not just between governments, but between our people, engagement on everything from science, to cultural and educational exchanges, to travel, and sports.

As the consultation began, Airbnb was proud to host an opening reception where U.S. Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel and Airbnb’s global operations head Varsha Rao discussed the importance of people-to-people exchanges and where Airbnb announced it will make a financial contribution to support the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program to help young American Gilman Scholars study abroad in China and gain a deeper cultural experience that will last a lifetime.

The Gilman Scholarship Program was established in 2001 and makes it possible for students from the United States to study in countries around the world. The scholarship is particularly designed for students who might not be able to study abroad without additional financial assistance, and the most popular destination for Gilman Scholars is China.

Gilman ScholarshipAt the event, Under Secretary of State Stengel talked about the power of people-to-people diplomacy and the benefits of citizens from different communities and cultures connecting with one another.

“For decades, people-to-people exchanges have helped break down barriers and promote mutual understanding between the United States and China. The Gilman Scholarship, in particular, has provided opportunities to study in China for thousands of U.S. students who might not otherwise be able to go abroad,” Under Secretary Stengel added. “We appreciate Airbnb’s support of the Gilman Scholars Program, as well as their support for this year’s Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.”

Airbnb is honored to help Chinese travelers see the world and a growing number of Chinese travelers have become part of our global community:

  • Since the company began in 2008, there have been more than 1.3 million guest arrivals by Chinese travelers at Airbnb listings worldwide.
  • Outbound travel from China has grown by approximately 500% in the past year.
  • Asia is our fastest growing region, and China is our fastest growing outbound travel market. Chinese travelers using Airbnb come principally from metropolitan areas in China, with most travelers coming from Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
  • The average age travelers from China is 29 years old, and they are regularly choosing to travel with their friends and family to places like France, Japan, Korea and the United States.

From San Francisco, to Seoul, to Paris, to Africa and the Middle East, we’ve seen how amazing experiences and lasting friendships can arise when people from different cultures come together, and we’re honored to support this kind of direct people-to-people diplomacy. Our mission is to create more of these life-changing connections and a world where anyone can belong anywhere.