COP26: Airbnb offers cash incentive to Glasgow residents to host climate summit visitors

Glasgwegians are being offered a £100 cash incentive to rent out their homes for visitors coming to the city for the United Nations climate summit COP26.

Accommodation portal Airbnb has pledged to hand out the money to any hosts who rent out their property through its website for the first time during the international conference.

The company has also promised to donate all profits it makes on rentals during COP26 to Zero Waste Scotland for projects tackling the environmental crisis.

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Airbnb says potential first-time landlords have a “unique” chance to become “a part of history” by renting out rooms during the two-week event, billed as the most important global talks on the environmental crisis since the Paris Agreement was set out in 2015.

The United Nations COP26 climate summit is being held at the Scottish events campus in Glasgow, with around 30,000 people expected to come to the city for the event in November. Picture: John Devlin

COP26, the 26th Conference of Parties, is due to take place in Glasgow between November 1-12 after being postponed from 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is hosting the event, which is expected to bring at least 30,000 delegates to the Scottish city from across the world, including world leaders, government representatives, media and campaigners.

The influx is expected to put significant pressure on local accommodation providers, with estimated hotel room capacity in Greater Glasgow standing at around 15,000 rooms.

Amanda Cupples, general manager for northern Europe at Airbnb, said: “Airbnb offers a unique opportunity for communities in and around Glasgow to be a part of history during the landmark COP26 conference.

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“Home-sharing helps cities use existing space to scale up their capacity and welcome major events.

“It also empowers locals to provide sustainable and affordable accommodation across the city, benefitting the local economy.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, has welcomed the plan.

“This is a fantastic pledge from Airbnb,” he said.

“To truly end the climate crisis, we need to change how we consume.

"This donation will be a great boost to the work we are doing in Scotland to help citizens and businesses choose more sustainable ways to live, use the things we need and share resources.”

Airbnb is offering a £100 travel coupon to anybody who hosts their first Airbnb guest in Glasgow during COP26 and plans to hand over all income from service fees to Zero Waste Scotland.

But there has been criticism over the cost of staying in the city for the duration of the conference, with climate justice campaigners fearing potential attendees from poor countries – many of which are already excluded due to coronavirus travel restrictions – will not be able to foot the bill.

Some Glasgow residents have offered up spare rooms for attendees to board for free.

Others are cashing in on the opportunity to make some money.

One property advertised on Airbnb – a one-bedroom flat, situated on the banks of the Clyde and within easy striking distance of the COP26 venue at the Scottish Events Campus – is offering a 12-night stay for £7,188.

The service charge alone comes to £1,072.

The same property costs £817 for the same length of stay a month later, with a service fee of £122.

According to analysis commissioned by Airbnb, travel booked through the portal boosts the Glasgow economy by £58 million a year and supports more than 2,800 local jobs.

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