Airbnb today announced we will invest $1 million through 2020 to promote and support community-led tourism projects in Africa. The commitment is part of our vision to empower communities through home sharing and to promote people-to-people tourism that benefits local families and their communities.
The announcement was made today by Chris Lehane, Airbnb Global Head of Public Policy and Public Affairs, at a press conference in Johannesburg City Hall together with Mayor Herman Mashaba and Hermione Nevill, World Bank Group’ Senior Travel Specialist. It followed the presentation of a study demonstrating how Airbnb hosts in Africa have welcomed 1.2 million guests to the continent in the past year while earning a combined $139 million in host income.
The investments will be put to work in 2018 and will focus on three main areas.
Promoting sustainable and inclusive tourism through technology
Our vision is to use technology to help spread the benefits of tourism, previously kept in the hands of a few, to the many. In May 2018, we will host the ‘Africa Travel Summit’ and bring together 80 thought leaders from across the Continent, in Cape Town, to share best practices, exchange ideas and co-create a vision for how technology can best be used for inclusive and sustainable tourism growth. Potential attendees – such as governments, tourism boards, development agencies, technology companies, incubators and individuals – can apply to attend the Africa Travel Summit as of today through January 31, 2018. The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) will serve as the Summit’s learning partner and organizations such as The World Bank Group (WBG), The United Nations World Travel Organization (UNWTO) and The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) will also take part in the event.
Empowering townships through hosting
As part of our belief that home sharing can support greater economic and social empowerment, we ran a pilot program earlier this year – together with local partners – to support training in hospitality and technology for residents from townships across the Western Cape. Given its success, we will expand the program – which is especially targeted at women and young people from underserved communities – to 15 more township communities across South Africa and scale the program to other countries in Africa in 2019.
Supporting locals and nonprofits through Airbnb travel
As part of our vision to promote people-to-people travel that helps generate new revenue streams for more communities, we will expand the Airbnb Experiences offer across the Western Cape. This will help more locals to turn their passions into economic opportunities and showcase the best authentic experiences that guests might otherwise miss. We will particularly focus on increasing Social Impact Experiences – the proceeds of which go directly to a non-profit organization.