Airbnb Investing $1M In African Tourism Projects To Empower Communities

By Peter Pedroncelli Published: October 19, 2017, 4:50 am
Stylish Cape Town apartment listed on Airbnb. Photo: airbnb - Tourism projectsStylish Cape Town apartment listed on Airbnb. Photo: airbnb

Airbnb has made a commitment to invest $1 million in community-led tourism projects across the African continent over the course of the next few years.

Airbnb, the mobile app-based hospitality booking site which allows people to make their homes or spare rooms available to visiting guests for a fee, will invest $1 million in community-based African tourism projects between 2018 and 2020, according to ITWeb.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Johannesburg, in the presence of the South African city’s mayor, Herman Mashaba, and Hermione Nevill, World Bank Group’ senior travel specialist.

The investment will be used to enable a number of initiatives, including an expanded host-training program within South African townships, enabling hosts to use the Airbnb technology and training them in hospitality.

Funds will also aim to promote sustainable and inclusive tourism through technology, with Airbnb set to host an Africa Travel Summit in Cape Town next year, with over 80 thought leaders and other travel stakeholders from across the continent descending on the Mother City during the month of May.

The investment will also focus on supporting locals and non-profits through Airbnb travel, expanding its new ‘Airbnb Experiences’ option which allows hosts or tour guides to upload local experiences that users can enjoy.

Airbnb hosts in Africa have welcomed 1.2 million guests to the continent in the past year, while earning a combined $139 million in host income, according to IOL.

Investment to boost African tourism projects

Chris Lehane, global head of public policy and public affairs for Airbnb, explained why an investment in African communities is an important part of the company’s strategy.

“Africa is home to some of the most welcoming communities and breathtaking landscapes on earth,” said Lehane, according to ITNewsAfrica.

“By leveraging technology to boost people-to-people tourism in Africa, we can help build a new economic engine for local families and their communities, while helping more guests enjoy magical travel experiences through the eyes of locals,” he said.

“Airbnb travel is already delivering significant economic benefits for Africa and today’s investment will help kickstart new benefits for more people across Africa,” he added.

Airbnb released a report this week revealing user numbers in South Africa and other African nations.

South Africa, the first African country on the Airbnb platform, has 43,400 active listings, while the typical host earns $1,900, annually for an average of 19 nights, according to Businesstech.

The typical African host on Airbnb earns $1,500 annually for around 18 nights, while in Nigeria, a newer Airbnb market in Africa with 730 active listings, the typical host earns $1,000 for an average of 13 nights per year.

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