On Tuesday 17 October 2017 Airbnb, at an event in Johannesburg, South Africa, released the findings of a study which highlighted the economic and social benefits of travel using Airbnb for local families and their communities. The findings show that there are now more than 100,000 homes listed on Airbnb in Africa and that there have been more than 2 million all-time global guest arrivals using Airbnb, helping spread tourism benefits beyond hotels and tourist hotspots to the places local residents call home.
The announcement was made today by Chris Lehane, Airbnb Global Head of Public Policy and Public Affairs, who was in South Africa for the press conference in Johannesburg City Hall together with the Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, and Hermione Nevill, World Bank Group’ Senior Travel Specialist. The announcement was followed by a commitment by Airbnb that it will invest $1 million in community-led tourism projects in Africa through 2020.
Hosting on Airbnb: Creating new economic opportunities for locals
The study shows that the typical Africa host on Airbnb earns $1,500 yearly and the typical listing on Airbnb is shared for 18 nights per year. Across the continent, hosts earned a total of $139 million by sharing their homes with guests, and hosts on Airbnb keep up to 97 percent of the accommodation charge. 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. 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.
Travelling with Airbnb: spreading benefits to local hosts and their communities
Home sharing helps emerging destinations welcome more visitors in a scalable and sustainable way. Since September 2012, there have been over 2 million guest arrivals on Airbnb in Africa and guests stay on average over 4 nights per stay. In the past year, 1.2 million guests used Airbnb to visit Africa – more than double compared to the previous year. Close to 60 percent of trips in the past year were booked by millennials – an increase of 36 percent compared to 2012 – and close to 20 percent of guests are travelling as part of a family. Intracontinental travel accounts for the greatest share of guests, with African guests representing 29 percent of all incoming guests, followed by France, the US and the UK. With up to 97 percent of the accommodation charge remaining in the hands of hosts, and almost half of all guest spending taking place in the neighbourhoods where they stay, the positive economic impacts of home sharing can be significant for emerging travel destinations.
Airbnb: boosting the economy in South Africa and Beyond
Home sharing on Airbnb boosted the economy in South Africa by roughly $250 million in the past 12 months, including host income and guest spending. While South Africa still represents the biggest market in terms of Airbnb guest arrivals, other countries are also increasingly benefitting from home sharing. In the past year, countries such as Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria have seen all seen guest arrivals’ growth of over 50 percent, with Nigeria noting a guest arrival growth of 325 percent.
The Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, speaking on the report and tourism in South Africa, in general, said, “Johannesburg is a city of inclusivity. As the new administration, our goal is to ensure equitable and sustainable growth, especially in our poorest communities. Any initiative that assists the City in accomplishing our goal is welcomed. The African continent needs to create entrepreneurial mindsets in the whole population; this can only be done if we show people that they already have the tools needed to participate in the economy.”
Chris Lehane, Global Head of Public Policy and Public Affairs for Airbnb speaking on Airbnb’s impact in Africa said, “As tourism in emerging destinations is increasing, our platform helps to ensure this growth is inclusive and community-led by benefiting regular people, communities and local businesses that have sometimes never seen tourism dollars before. Airbnb can be a major engine for economic empowerment throughout Africa. We look forward to working with communities across the continent to harness their innovative spirit and technology on our people-to-people platform to help spread tourism benefits across Africa.”
Chris Lehane is in South Africa this week to highlight the benefits travel using Airbnb is bringing to Africa and to pledge Airbnb’s commitment to help build an engine for economic empowerment that boosts local families and their communities.