In August 2019, Tourism Entrepreneurs (TEs) from across the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province gathered in Durban to celebrate their official graduation from the three-month Airbnb Africa Academy training programme.
The participants came from as far afield as St Lucia and the Drakensberg, with many travelling almost an entire day on public transport to attend the celebration.
The ceremony consisted of refresher training followed by a celebratory lunch, before the presentation of certificates by Africa!Ignite to all the TEs in attendance.
The Airbnb Africa Academy was built as an initiative to encourage healthy tourism and entrepreneurship in rural and under-resourced communities across the continent. The Academy partners with organisations such as Africa!Ignite that are embedded in communities with high tourism potential. The Tourism Entrepreneurs receive localised online and offline training, starting with a three-day bootcamp.
The atmosphere was lively and excitable and participants dressed in their finest attire to receive their certificates from Africa!Ignite CEO, Wilna Botha.
Bongiwe Mlangeni, Programme & Operations Manager at Africa!Ignite said:
“The Airbnb Africa Academy Graduation ceremony was a culmination of months of hard work, mentorship and support. Africa!Ignite is truly grateful to the Academy for partnering with us to ensure that we continue to drive economic growth in some of KZN’s deep rural communities, and to Airbnb for your generous investment in time, money and expertise. Africa!Ignite is committed to ensuring that these small enterprises on the doorstep of popular tourist destinations start to benefit from the tourism coming into the province.”
As part of the Academy programme, all TEs who attended also received fire alarms for their listings on the Airbnb platform and first aid kits.
“Having this in the same place was really awesome as it further inculcated a spirit of togetherness. I look forward to marching forward with everyone in [my] ‘tourism tribe’, I do believe we will not just learn from each other but will grow together and will share many key moments together.”
“The journey that began in April for us culminated in an exciting graduation ceremony this week, which was beyond my expectations as I know that most of us are operating so far apart,” said Sakhile Xulu (Stax), a young business man from Molweni, 30 minutes outside of Durban, who runs his own club and Shisanyama Experience.