Home Development Airbnb to invest $1M in community-led African tourism

Airbnb to invest $1M in community-led African tourism

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Rental accommodation social platform Airbnb will invest $1 million from 2018 until 2020 to support community-led tourism projects in Africa.

Airbnb said this commitment is part of its vision to empower communities through home sharing and to promote people-to-people tourism that benefits local families and their communities.

Making the announcement in Johannesburg, Airbnb global head of public policy and public affairs, Chris Lehane, said the investment focus will be on empowering townships through hosting, promoting sustainable and inclusive tourism through technology, and supporting locals and nonprofits through Airbnb travel.

African News Agency says the announcement came shortly after the presentation of a study demonstrating how Airbnb hosts in Africa have welcomed 1.2 million guests to the continent in the past year – more than double the previous year – while earning a combined $139 million in host income.

Lehane said Airbnb travel is already delivering significant economic benefits for Africa and this investment will help kickstart new benefits for more people across the continent.

“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,” Lehane said.

Business Live reports the study also showed that the typical Africa host on Airbnb earns $1,500 annually and that the typical listing on Airbnb is shared for 18 nights a year and Airbnb hosts keep up to 97% of the accommodation proceeds. The average host age in Africa is 43 and the host community is evenly split between women and men.

“For many Africans, being able to turn their greatest expense — their home — into a source of additional revenue is good news,” said Lehane. “Home sharing is healthy tourism by virtue of being not only inclusive but also sustainable, helping people create new economic opportunities for themselves in the homes and communities where they live.”

Close to 60% of trips in the past year were booked by millennials, an increase of 36% compared to 2012, and close to 20% of guests are traveling as part of a family. Intra-continental travel accounts for the greatest share of guests at 29%, followed by France, the US and the UK.

The study shows there are now more than 100,000 homes listed on Airbnb in Africa and that there have been more than two million all-time global guest arrivals using Airbnb, helping spread tourism benefits beyond hotels and tourist hotspots.