Home swapping about community life, sustainability

A new study about people who swap homes are motivated by several factors:

‘My House is Yours’ is the first in-depth study of people using home exchange to travel the world. It was carried out by the University of Bergamo and based on a survey of 7,000 members of the HomeExchange.com website…

Researchers Francesca Forno, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Sociology of Consumption, and Roberta Garibaldi, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Tourism Marketing concluded that “people are turning more and more to models of consumption that emphasise community over selfishness”, and that home exchange “may help to make our societies work better towards a sustainable future”.

“Swapping houses is one of the most significant boundaries of modern tourism, because it incorporates some of the dynamics that characterise the tourist of the new millennium: the increasingly felt desire to travel several times a year, even with limited budgets, the need to organise tailor-made trips as personalised as possible and the desire to make the trip an authentic experience … not only to know a new country with all its attractions, but also to immerse yourself in a new culture,” they said.

The tourist of the new millennium also has a home to swap in the first place.

Additionally, it sounds a like more “ethical tourism” where the tourist seeks to not contribute to the inauthenticity of a place (tourist traps/hotels/resorts, menial jobs, etc.) and would rather move in and out unobtrusively. The 21st century tourist wants to soak up an authentic location and leave it the same or better than when they came. This could have quite an impact on places with lots of tourists, possibly aiding a resistance to a globalized/Westernized set of tourist experiences.

It’s too bad we don’t have a reaction from the tourism industry in this article. Are hotel chains worried or is this something that be marketed and commoditized?

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