This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Airbnb, the site that lets users rent other people’s homes as tourists, has just published their list of the top 20 “trending destinations” for 2020, according to their predictions.  This list is not based on absolute values, but rather on users’ interest and the trends in rentals these cities have had over the last few years.

Bilbao is ranked second in inter-annual bookings, with a growth rate over 400%.  That shows how our country’s ability to draw tourists is growing.  Word is already spreading.  It’s one of those kinds of topics that the media love to share.

Because, lest we forget, the whole of our country is a destination that is at hand to any tourist, wherever they decide to set up their “base camp”.  Anyone who’s staying in San Sebastian could easily visit Bilbao, Pamplona, or Biarritz, while anyone staying in Bilbao would have no trouble visiting Vitoria, the Alava Rioja region, or San Sebastian.

We’re a “small” country, and many of our international visitors are used to commuting an hour every day, so for them, our distances here are quite comfortable.

Curiously, and this is a sign of how hard it is for our visitors to understand our territorial structures, we can see how the article on Bilbao is highlighted with a photo from nearby Portugalete.

But still, the harder we try to “sell ourselves” as an integral destination, from Bilbao to Pamplona and from Bayonne to Laguardia, the greater success we’ll have.

We’re also aware that this way of doing tourism, of renting private homes, must be highly regulated, and restricted, as it could lead to our towns “dying of success” and losing an important part of their traditional population.  We mustn’t forget the greatest attraction we have is our character and personality.  There’s a certain risk that, if we don’t do things right, certain parts of our country, the ones that are most attractive for tourists, might end up becoming a kind of theme park.

Only thinking in the short term is running a serious risk, and it’s already affecting these areas’ bars and restaurants.  They have to choose between trying to make the most of the short term, forgetting everything that caused their success to start with, or try to stay true to their origins.

Our institutions, and society as a whole, has a huge challenge before it: trying to make our country a quality tourist destination that doesn’t lose its essence.  And that means, honestly, that we have to try to attract visitors with a good amount of disposable income.

Airbnb – 9/10/2019 – USA

20 for 2020: Airbnb Reveals the 20 Destinations to Visit Next Year

Looking ahead to travel planning for next year, we’re forecasting growing interest in lesser known and eco-conscious cities and countries across the world based on Airbnb booking data*.

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