Supporting responsible travel in South Africa

Key Takeaways

  • Airbnb launches Neighbourhood Support Line in South Africa to support responsible travel ahead of a hotly anticipated summer for tourism

Key Takeaways

  • Airbnb launches Neighbourhood Support Line in South Africa to support responsible travel ahead of a hotly anticipated summer for tourism

Airbnb has announced the launch of its Neighbourhood Support Line in South Africa, offering neighbours a direct line of communication to Airbnb to report urgent concerns about a listing or guest behaviour in their local community. Neighbours can visit to request a call from a specialised support agent, who will aim to give them a call back within ten minutes.

While the overwhelming majority of stays take place with no issues – and emergencies and safety incidents should be reported to local authorities – the Neighbourhood Support Line aims to address both immediate disturbances, such as an unauthorised party in progress, as well as possible long-term or recurring issues within the community. The service is operated by Airbnb, and builds on the company’s existing Neighbourhood Tool, which allows neighbours to submit complaints about a listing via an online form. Airbnb investigates reports received through these channels.

Airbnb wants to be a good partner to cities and local communities and to support the recovery of responsible tourism in South Africa after the pandemic. In September, Airbnb announced a new three-year commitment to address the barriers to becoming a tourism entrepreneur, and earlier this year the company wrote to policymakers to set out its support for a short-term rental registration system in South Africa to re-boost tourism in the wake of the pandemic, protect local tourism entrepreneurs, and to promote an inclusive and sustainable future for tourism. 

The vast majority of Hosts and guests on Airbnb are good neighbours and respectful travellers who follow the rules. As travel returns to South Africa and we prepare for a busy summer, we want to take swift and robust action against anyone who doesn’t live up to the standards that communities expect, and the Neighbourhood Support Line will help us to crack down on the type of behaviour that isn’t welcome on Airbnb.

Velma Corcoran, Regional Lead Middle East Africa at Airbnb

The Neighbourhood Support Line is already live in 29 countries and territories globally, including France, Spain, Italy, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic and the Netherlands, among others.

Today’s launch follows the introduction of other measures by Airbnb to get tough on anti-social behaviour. These include extending the global ban on parties in listings on Airbnb, which has been embraced by our Host community, elevating visibility of a listing’s House Rules to guests, and hiring more Community Support staff.

As South Africa gets ready for a busy summer travel season, Airbnb is finding new ways to support its community. This month Airbnb announced 50+ upgrades and innovations across its entire service to meet the changing needs of travellers. As the pandemic untethered millions of people from the need to work in specific places at specific times, the ways guests are using Airbnb as we seem to emerge from the pandemic has shifted: Guests are spending more on longer stays than any point in Airbnb history and long-term stays have become the platform’s fastest-growing trip length*. New changes to support this revolution in how we travel include Verified WiFi – a new speed test tool that verifies the speed of the wifi in a listing – so travellers and digital nomads can be confident they won’t miss a Zoom.

* Based on bookings for 2022 as of September 30, 2021