With summer almost upon us, Airbnb today reveals data showing that international travel to South Africa is returning, with nights booked on the platform in the first three quarters more than doubling (1) compared to the same period last year. Bela-Bela in Limpopo tops the list of trending destinations, with travellers also flocking back to the ever-popular Western Cape region (2).
Located in the famous Waterberg region, Bela-Bela in Limpopo is fast becoming a must-visit for tourists across the globe. Known for its extraordinary wildlife and conservation efforts, it is no surprise that bookings on Airbnb in the area have seen an increase of more than 400% compared to 2021 (3).
In June, Airbnb also expanded its Entrepreneurship Academy to the region as part of a three-year commitment to empower a new generation of tourism entrepreneurs. 51 participants of the Waterberg Academy are set to graduate later this month after receiving the skills, practical tools and the support they need to succeed on the Airbnb platform in South Africa.
The increase in visitors is a welcome boost for locals, especially in the face of the increasing cost of living. Half of Hosts across South Africa say they host to afford the current economic challenges, while over a third say the additional income helps them make ends meet (4).
South African Hosts earned R1.4 billion collectively during the summer season of 2021-2022(5). Last year, the typical South African Host earned around R25,400 by renting their space on Airbnb – equivalent to approximately one month’s additional pay for the average income earner.
The Western Cape also continues to entice travellers with historical towns like Witzenberg, Theewaterskloof and Saldanha Bay. Drakenstein, located in Western Cape’s famous wine region, is also attracting guests with its major vineyards and beautiful scenery.
Airbnb’s top trending destinations in South Africa for international guests in 2022 (6):
- Bela-Bela, Limpopo
- Witzenberg, Western Cape
- Theewaterskloof, Western Cape
- Saldanha Bay, Western Cape
- uMngeni, KwaZulu-Natal
- Buffalo City, Eastern Cape
- Ray Nkonyeni, KwaZulu-Natal
- Msunduzi, KwaZulu-Natal
- Drakenstein, Western Cape
- Ndlambe, Eastern Cape
These trending destinations for the summer season highlight the up-and-coming hotspots for international travellers and their desire for new experiences. The top origin countries for guests visiting South Africa include travellers from the UK, Germany, US, Netherlands and France (7).
“The return of international travel in South Africa is fantastic news for the tourism economy which supports local businesses and communities. Hosting is also proving to be an economic lifeline for thousands of South African families as it’s an opportunity to showcase the beauty of their homes while also boosting their income in light of the rising living costs.”
Velma Corcoran, Regional Lead for Middle East Africa at Airbnb
“The Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy taught me how to interact with clients and take my business seriously. When I joined, I was not business-minded, however, I have gained a lot of confidence in managing my property, Pendleberry Grove, because of the training I received. I am so grateful for the opportunity and am excited to continue to share my property with guests visiting Bela-Bela.”
Rose Mashaba, graduate of The Waterberg Academy
Prospective Hosts can learn about how much they could earn by sharing their space on Airbnb through the What’s My Place Worth tool. The interactive tool computes the estimated income based on geography, type of listing, and also uses prior Airbnb booking data in the area. For more information, visit Airbnb.com/host.