Online accommodation booking platform Airbnb has pledged to support inclusive and sustainable tourism growth in SA and across the African continent, committing $500 000 (about R10 million) in funding to the sector.
The undertaking was announced today at the Airbnb Africa Travel Summit in Johannesburg − an event focused on technology’s role in boosting the industry.
Speaking at the event, Velma Corcoran,regional lead for Middle East Africa at Airbnb, noted that over the next two years, the pledge will help governments and tourism organisations across Africa unlock new tourism opportunities, and support hosts and their communities to empower the next generation of tourism entrepreneurs.
“This pledge is an important demonstration of Airbnb’s continued commitment for a truly sustainable, diverse and inclusive tourism industry − a travel economy for all,” said Corcoran.
“We believe in the power of public and private sector partnerships to support this important work, and we look forward to working together with governments, non-profits and tourism organisations across Africa to make travel and hosting more accessible, safe, diverse and affordable for everyone.”
The move follows an Economic Impact Report by Genesis Analytics, released last week, which showed Airbnb contributed more than R23.5 billion to the South African economy in 2022 − supporting almost 50 000 jobs.
Airbnb says through the Africa pledge, it will work with local stakeholders to identify organisations that should be considered for funding grants, distributed by the Airbnb Community Fund.
It will also provide City Portalaccess to an additional 10 African countries, to deliver data, insights and tools to local authorities and tourism organisations.
The City Portal offers governments and tourism organisations data insights, remitted tourist tax revenue and compliance tools, unlocking tourism opportunities.
Airbnb says in 2024, it will publish an inclusive tourism growth white paper to support countries in Africa to identify opportunities across tourism and policy that will drive sustainable tourism across the continent.
“In addition, Airbnb will expand the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academyto five new countries across the next two years. Already available in SA and Kenya, the academy is an entrepreneurship development programme focused on introducing individuals from diverse and underrepresented communities to hosting on the Airbnb platform in coordination with local community partners,” added Corcoran.
Governments, destination marketing organisations and non-profit organisations that are interested in finding out how they can be included in this pledge can contact Airbnb via email@example.com.