The future for African travel is under the spotlight for the next two days at Airbnb Africa Travel Summit which kicked off in a colourful community centre in Langa, Cape Town.
Speaking this morning, Chris Lehane, Airbnb Global Head of Public Policy and Public Affairs shared the potential growth opportunity for African travel which will account for 8.1% of African GDP by 2028. In South Africa travel is forecasted to deliver 10.1% of GDP in 2028. Over 2 million Airbnb guest arrivals in South Africa, with 3.5 million in Africa, with roughly half of these arrivals occurring in just the past year.
The African continent actually features three of the top-eight fastest growing countries for guest arrivals on Airbnb (Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique). Lehan added that Airbnb also “plans to expand its presence in Kenya in 2019”.
Tech and travel delivering income and employment
While the traditional hotel industry bemoans the new sharing economy, tech and travel are delivering real income and employment to local communities. Airbnb hosts across Africa earned $400+ million dollars with $260M in South Africa alone, this looks set to grow with “82% of guests more likely to return to SA due to Airbnb experience” added Lehane.
Locals – who keep up to 97% of the accommodation charge – directly benefit from tourism’s economic growth with hosts across South Africa have earned over $260 million and, in the past year, the ripple effect of the activity of the Airbnb community resulted in an economic impact of $678 million, supporting over 22,000 jobs
Empowering a diverse range of people and places
Airbnb’s community of home hosts in South Africa has grown to date to over 35,000 and the majority of them are women (65%). For many of them, being able to turn their greatest expense – their home – into a source of additional revenue is good news.”
Airbnb commits to community-led tourism projects in Africa
Airbnb today also announced they will invest $1 million through 2020 to promote and support community-led tourism projects in Africa. The commitment aims to empower communities through home sharing and to promote people-to-people tourism that benefits local families and their communities.
“Tourism has become a powerful people-driven economic force and when done right it also has the power to drive belonging through such people-to-people connections. With that power comes a massive responsibility. Tourism’s potential for inclusivity presents an opportunity to distribute the economics of a booming global industry more broadly, to communities and people who have not benefited from tourism before” added Lehane.