The world’s largest accommodation platform Airbnb has seen more than two million guests travelling to Africa in the last five years, with more than half that number arriving in the last year alone.
Airbnb manager in South Africa, Velma Corcoran, on Friday said the platform had seen incredible growth since its launch in 2008 and now boasted close to five million homes in 191 countries across the world. This included 81,000 cities and the platform has seen more than 300 million guests.
“That means 400 guests check in every two minutes. We have also seen great growth in Africa. Last year we surpassed 100,000 homes on Airbnb Africa and we have seen in the last five years more than two million guests travelling to Africa using Airbnb. What is encouraging is that more than half of those guest came in the last year, September 2016 to September 2017″.
Corcoran was speaking at World Travel Market on Friday, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).
She added that people no longer want to stay in tourist areas, “they want to explore neighbourhood communities and when they go into those communities they spend their money there”.
“Seventy percent of our global listings stayed in our main tourist areas, 80 percent said they wanted to travel locally, and 42 percent of them actually spending their money in the communities that they are travelling into.”
She added that the platform has empowered millions of people around the world by allowing them to monetise the spaces in their homes, their passions, and their talents and that it has introduced a roadmap on how to get from 300 million travelers to a billion in 10 years.
“Ten years ago we never dreamed of what Airbnb could become. In fact, people thought the idea that strangers would stay in each other’s homes was crazy. Today, millions of people every night do just that. But we wanna go further by supporting and expanding our community so that in ten years time, more than a billion people per year will experience the benefits of magical travel on Airbnb.
“We have introduced quite a few new categories than a few bed and breakfast, boutique hotels, we have also started to think about how do guests travel, so you can now search based am I going on a business trip, or am I going on a honeymoon or is it a family trip because we know that when you travel for different reasons you have got very different needs,” she said quoting Airbnb chief executive.
“So we have also introduced new categories, Airbnb plus which is glorified listings as well as Airbnb beyond which is super luxury. So really, you should be able to find exactly what you looking for.”
The Western Cape has seen over more than half a million guest in 2017 which was 87 percent increase from the previous year and the economic activity generated through post income and guest spending amounted to R5billion.
She said that the fastest-growing destinations in the province outside Cape Town were amongst others, Beaufort West, Ceres, and Atlantis “and that really talks to the ability of the platform like Airbnb to spread the benefit of tourism into places that are probably unlikely to be destinations”. (via African News Agency)