Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs for Airbnb Chris Lehane ahead of the Airbnb Africa Travel Summit. Picture Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency ANA

CAPE TOWN - Around 200 delegates from all over Africa flocked to Gugu S'thebe, Langa in Cape Town for the Africa Travel Summit hosted by Airbnb in partnership with South African Tourism.

The summit will focus on how technology can help more people benefit from tourism.

Thirty high profile speakers and panellists will discuss ways in which tourism and technology can enable economic empowerment across the African continent.

Airbnb in a statement said the Travel Summit is part of their $1 million investment to "promote and support community-led tourism projects in Africa".

"More than 200 delegates will be expected to share expertise and ideas on what tourism can do to empower more people in Africa, hear from innovators who are helping democratise tourism in Africa, and learn about the Airbnb Africa Academy, Airbnb’s newest programme to connect underserved communities to tourism in South Africa through technology," Airbnb said.

The first day of the three-day summit kicked off on Tuesday with the Innovators Programme where 15 African grassroots organisations from eight different countries across the continent discussed how the Airbnb Africa Academy can be expanded to new communities in Africa.

Global Head of Public Policy and Public Affairs for Airbnb, Chris Lehane said: "Tourism has become a powerful people-driven economic force and when done right it also has the power to drive belonging through such people-to-people connections. With that power comes a massive responsibility. Tourism’s potential for inclusivity presents an opportunity to distribute the economics of a booming global industry more broadly, to communities and people who have not benefited from tourism before. By hosting the Africa Travel Summit we will bring together the leading thinkers from what is an incredibly diverse continent so that we can listen, learn and apply those learnings. We want to discuss how we can learn from what is working so as to best leverage technology and innovation to empower more local families and their communities to benefit from the economics of African travel."

Delegates attending the summit will have an opportunity to attend a concert listed on Airbnb, learn traditional gumboot dance from locals hosting this experience and they will also attend dinners all over Cape Town.

South African Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona said: "It’s an honour for us to support the first Africa Travel Summit in the vibrant neighbourhood of Langa, Cape Town. We are thrilled that key decision- and policy-makers combined with influencers and innovators from across Africa will be joining this event. We are certain that they will inspire and ignite much-needed debate around tourism in South Africa and the continent. Inclusivity is a key driver and focuses for us at SA Tourism, and Airbnb’s offerings speak to this and also help with providing a variety of options for the domestic and international traveller. Homestays are a new category for us to look at and working more closely with Airbnb on this will certainly assist us in achieving our goals of attracting additional visitors."

The Africa Travel Summit is expected to spark important conversations that will help realize Airbnb’s vision to empower communities through home sharing and promoting people-to-people tourism that benefits local families.

- African News Agency (ANA)