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AirBNB to ‘double bookings in Africa’

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AirBNB, the international application driven online room rental service, plans to double its customer numbers in Africa to 1.5 million by the end of this year (2017).

South Africa, with two of its cities – Cape Town and Johannesburg – ranking among the top five most popular AirBNB spots in Africa to rent homes or rooms, was an early adopter of AirBNB and also remains the continent’s top-ranked country in Africa in terms of listings.

AFK Insider reports AirBNB plans to maintain its rapid growth in Africa. Its Africa and Middle East chief Nicola D’Elia said the number of people using the service on the continent rose by 143% to around 765,000 guests in 2016 from the previous year. “If you just look at 2017, it’s going to double. You will have 1.5 million people at the end of this year,” she said.

This was echoed by AirBNB CEO Brian Chesky who told news agency Reuters in an interview that the California-based company’s aim is to double African customer by the end of this year.

Chesky said “that would be the forecast” in an interview in the Langa township in Cape Town, adding: “This is literally just the beginning. It (Africa) is still relatively under-penetrated.”

He said the company had 77,000 homes available across Africa – out of its 3 million globally – but that it could easily have “hundreds of thousands” on a continent that’s home to over a billion people. The 77,000 homes represented an increase of 95% from 2015 to 2016.

AirBNB visitors to Africa are mainly from from the US, Germany, Britain and the Netherlands.

The top five cities offering AirBNB accommodation in Africa are Cape Town, Marrakesh, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Casablanca, although listings are also found in locations such as St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean to Freetown in Sierra Leone.