HomeCompany NewsAirbnb’s commitment to inclusive tourism in South Africa

Airbnb’s commitment to inclusive tourism in South Africa

  • Today, Airbnb announced a new partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa, which will see the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy roll out in select DLAB sites, furthering Southern Africa’s inclusive economic development goals and showcasing the power of Public-Private Partnerships. Airbnb has also signed partnerships with RLabs in the Mitchells Plain area of Cape Town, and the Waterberg District Municipality as part of the President’s District Development Model, demonstrating its commitment to inclusive tourism.
  • Expanding the Entrepreneurship Academy: The Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy has trained close to 500 people predominantly women and youth, through their work with public and private sector partners, including more than 200 students at the University of Johannesburg School of Tourism and Hospitality; and 50 new graduates in the Waterberg, who were today celebrated at a graduation event attended by Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela.
  • Improving digital inclusivity: We have installed 77 wifi hotspots in rural and township communities across South Africa and committed to providing free connectivity and data to all Waterberg Academy graduates for the next year says Velma Corcoran, Regional Lead Middle East Africa at Airbnb
  • Supporting our Host community: Through our Africa Academy Fund, we have provided 45 grants totalling R2.5 million to support Academy graduates from township and rural communities who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
  • Working to drive more inclusive economic growth: Through our work with the Waterberg District Municipality, we have shown how innovative Public-Private Partnerships can drive more inclusive economic growth. As part of the District Development Model – a project designed to bring together partners to tackle poverty, inequality and unemployment – we worked with local partners including the Waterberg District Municipality, The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and the Lapalala Wilderness School, to help build the local tourism economy, and develop skills for local families to open their homes says Velma Corcoran
  • Continuing to promote lesser visited destinations: Through product updates and campaigns, we have shone a light on lesser-visited destinations across South Africa. Starting in December, we will launch a digital campaign with the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Waterberg Tourism, focussed on sustainable tourism.

Velma Corcoran, Regional Lead for Middle East Africa at Airbnb, said:As the cost of living increases, it’s imperative that public and private organisations continue to work together to lower barriers to entry and unlock economic opportunities for everyday South Africans. We’re incredibly proud of our continued commitment, with our partners,  to create a more inclusive tourism economy that benefits everyone, ”

Fish Mahlalela, Deputy Minister of Tourism, said: “Airbnb’s work in the Waterberg as part of the District Development Model is a best-in-class example of how innovative Public-Private Partnerships can work to drive more inclusive economic growth. The partnership with Airbnb is also assisting the Just Energy Transition, helping to train and empower locals, especially women and youth, to benefit from a sustainable tourism industry and biodiversity economy.”

As people battle a rising cost of living crisis, lowering barriers to earning much-needed income has never been more important. Half of Hosts across South Africa say they host to afford the rising cost of living, and over a third say the additional income helps them make ends meet. Last year, the typical Host on Airbnb in South Africa earned more than R25,400, money that can help cover rising costs.

To better support prospective Hosts, Airbnb this month introduced Airbnb Setup and additional AirCover to make it easier and safer for millions of people to Airbnb their home.

Learn more about the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy, and how we can work together to create a more inclusive and diverse tourism economy in South Africa here.