French villages and Airbnb work to boost rural tourism

The church dominates the centre of Cassel, France's most-loved village 2018

Some 17,000 smaller communes in France 'had at least one property advertised on rental website last year'

Rural mayors have signed an agreement with property rental website Airbnb to develop tourism in the French countryside.

Under the scheme, the Association des maires ruraux de France (AMRF) and the property portal will join forces to develop 'joint strategies for the development of rural tourism', and run promotional campaigns to highlight more out-of-the-way destinations across the country.

Unveiling the plan, Airbnb said in a statement that at least one property from 17,000 communes in France with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants was advertised on the site last year - and estimated that 2.7million travellers would not have visited France if an Airbnb property was unavailable.

At least 10 French communes that boasted no hotels welcomed 2,270 visitors last year thanks to the website, it said.

Vanik Berberian, President of the AMRF, said the aim was to encourage "more varied consumption patterns" favoured by "rural people who know how to enhance their heritage and their sense of hospitality to make it an asset for their territory".

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