International Travel

Joanita Wibowo

You can now get travel recommendations based on your ancestry

You can now get travel recommendations based on your ancestry

There is a common wisdom that says travelling is about finding yourself. That can soon be reality, with a new partnership between Airbnb and genetic testing company 23andMe.

The two companies are looking to tap into the heritage travel industry by helping tourists connect to their roots and plan a visit to their homelands.

“We’re proud to team up with 23andMe, the leader in helping people learn about their genes and ancestry, to make it easier for travelers to plan trips as unique as their DNA,” said Joe Gebbia, co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Airbnb.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, this is how it will work: you can take a DNA test with 23andMe, and in three to five weeks Airbnb will recommend a custom mix of accommodations, tours and classes based on your results in the countries your genes trace back to.

For example, if you were found to have Southern Italian ancestry, you might be suggested to stay at a trullo in the region of Puglia. On the other hand, those with Mexican roots could receive recommendations to go on a mezcal tasting journey in Mexico City.

If you have taken a similar genetic testing before this, worry not – you can still access the recommendations. The website has opened dedicated pages that correspond with 23andMe’s genetic populations in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and West Asia, Central America and Mexico, South America, East and South Asia, and the Caribbean and Europe to allow travellers to “easily plan an end-to-end heritage trip”.

Airbnb said more and more people are taking trips related to heritage or ancestry, with 500 per cent increase in travellers using the online platform to trace their roots since 2014.

The growing popularity of at-home genetic tests like 23andMe also helps make it easier for people to explore and learn more about their ancestry.

The move could be seen as an example of the changing face of travel, where personalisation and service convergence are the main considerations for travel merchants in designing travel experience for customers. According to a 2017 Epsilon survey, 87 per cent of people say they are more likely to do business with travel websites or apps that offer personalised journeys.