Airbnb Empowers Township-based Tourism Businesses

Posted on March 20th, 2017

Airbnb Empowers Township-based Tourism Businesses

Ikhaya le Langa, a non-profit organisation aimed at revitalising South African townships, in partnership with Airbnb, on Friday held a graduation ceremony for nine women entrepreneurs from Langa township in Cape Town.

The nine graduates were the first class of hosts from Ikhaya le Langa who have graduated from “a programme that will help them boost their community by providing sustainable accommodation options to thousands of global travellers through their business in social enterprise and tourism. The women are all based in the Langa Quarter, an area of 13 streets with about 500 homes”.

Through the programme, participants develop their knowledge of the township’s culture and history and hone their culinary skills to give tourists a richer, more local experience, as well as learning to manage their tourism skills.

Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, was in attendance to witness the graduation ceremony.

Feel at home

Their services will be available on Airbnb, a global online marketing service which enables people to list or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms.

Mabel Plaatjies, a 63-year old grandmother, said the most important lesson she learned from the course was to give people love and a home.

“Money is important but I realised you must not look at the money, you must learn to show your guests love and they must feel like they have a home,” she said.

Airbnb said it was aimed at creating empowerment and opportunities through a platform that enables regular people to access the tourism economy.

“Ikhaya le Langa follows a similar approach. Through the creation of social enterprise precinct (Langa Quarter), the organisation aims at transforming the township into an area where businesses and people can flourish.”


The concept of Langa Quarter came from Ikhaya le Langa’s founder and director, Tony Elvin, who envisioned growing sustainable tourism businesses, underpinned by a cleaner, greener, safer partnership approach.

“The grand vision for this beautiful community which has so much to offer is to release its true potential in order to stimulate business and attract sustained investment and create much needed employment,” Elvin said.

Meanwhile, Ntombizini Memani, 66, said she was very happy and grateful to have been one of the graduates.

“I am so happy for what Tony has done for this community because we were lonely and had nothing to do. But now, since I was introduced to the programme I have been so happy because I learn a lot about people and the world. These people come from all over the world and we welcome them in our homes, we share our different stories and history and learn about places we have never been,” she said. – African News Agency (ANA)