NATIONAL Social Crisis

Airbnb Tour To “Live the Chilean Revolution” Removed

SANTIAGO – Airbnb host Sebastián Nieto removed a guided tour for tourists to “live the Chilean revolution” in Santiago. The walking tour took visitors through key places of the social movement and taught them about the public’s demands. Nieto said the response from tourists was positive, but his tour was not without controversy, including the fact that he was allegedly profiting from the social crisis.

“Ven a vivir la Revolución Chilena” (or “Come live the Chilean Revolution,” in English), was a guided tour of the Chilean social movement in Santiago, that sought to showcase the art and history of the city in this context. The experience, available through travel app Airbnb, was about US$25 (CLP$19,000) per person and included water bottles and goggles in case the tour would stumble upon a demonstration.

The tour walked visitors through representative places of the social unrest, such as Plaza Dignidad (aka Plaza Italia), Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center, and the Lastarria neighborhood, with an optional visit to the Santa Lucía Hill or the National Library.

“Come live the true history of Chile through the artistic demonstrations that … transformed the streets into an immense art gallery,” read Nieto’s tour description. “My experience looks for you to take [home] a real memory of Chile …”

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The Target Audience

Tourism and e-commerce expert Nieto created the tour after noticing how fascinating the Chilean social movement appeared to foreigners. “I realized that demonstrations gathered quite an audience …  At the end of the day, demonstrations are an event. It stops the daily routine … Although there is a social message that is very valid, there is also a very ludic part [about it],” Nieto told El Dínamo.

Nieto also explained that he wanted to pack this potential into something visitors could enjoy and learn from. “It is different if someone comes along explaining everything,” he said. 

The tour guided offers the tour in English, French, and Spanish, and said he mainly focuses on teaching through artistic monuments and checkpoints.

Social Learning or Profiteering?

Nieto’s initiative was not free of controversy. According to Publimetro, the tour guide faced criticism for “taking advantage” of the social circumstances in the country. In the Publimetro article, Nieto talked about a German tourist who told him he did not agree with what he was doing. “He told me … that social demonstrations are not to profit from.”

He explained that he prefers to see it in another way. “I am not profiting, but adapting to what people who come to Santiago look for.” Nevertheless, Nieto decided to take the tour down.

In the tour’s profile, Nieto also wrote that “30% of the gains will go directly to an NGO to support the social movement,” although there is no information about the recipient NGO.

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