Picture: The V&A Waterfront. Picture: Cape Town Tourism.

CAPE TOWN - According to new data released by Airbnb, the online marketplace has generated an estimated R5 billion in the Western Cape. 

Airbnb which was founded in 2008 has an estimated 4.5 million places listed on its online platform in approximately 81 000 cities. The online marketplace said in February this year that it plans to expand its reach to 1 billion annual guests by 2028.

What is important to the company's model is not only to experience a different country or area but its ability to generate income for individuals. Airbnb conducted data on the impact of the home sharing community in the Western Cape which takes into account host earnings and guest spending in the Western Cape.

According to the data, the Airbnb community generated an estimated R5 billion of economic activity to the Western Cape. This not only boosts the economy but also empowers the local community.

In 2017 alone, 15 000 hosts welcomed over 540 000 guests from all around the world. This is a 86% growth from 2016. In addition, Airbnb provides an extra income for individuals. On average, hosts earn around R34 000 per annum.

According to Airbnb, home sharing is a direct boost to tourism as well.

"Every time a guest visits South Africa using Airbnb, local families and their communities benefit. Last year saw a record number of guests visiting the Western Cape on Airbnb and we’re delighted to help spread the benefits of tourism beyond the typical tourist hot spots to lesser known towns and neighbourhoods. Whether it’s staying in Saldanha, Swellendam or Stellenbosch, hosts provide unforgettable experiences for guests to live like a local. We look forward to seeing guests discover more unique, diverse and welcoming communities across the region throughout the year", says Country Manager for South Africa, Velma Corcoran.

Meanwhile, according to Airbnb's study on Cape Town between September 2016 and September 2017, Cape Town welcomed a total of 288 100 guest arrivals. With 17 000 listings in Cape Town alone, a host earns an average of R43 400 per annum.

On average, guests booked a listing for 32 nights. Based on the study, 91% of guests also said that they chose Airbnb to live like a local.

Just last year September on World Tourism Day, Airbnb launched a pilot programme aimed at empowering underprivileged communities both economically and socially. Partnered with Open Africa, the South African College for Tourism and the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), Airbnb launched the programme, a first of its kind in South Africa.

The programme enabled local residents to host people in their homes whilst generating an income.

With a particular focus on underprivileged communities, Airbnb supported training in hospitality in townships and around the Western Cape.

In its pilot phase, the programme consisted of 10 modules which taught local residents how to list their home on Airbnb, manage online payments as well as how to create a compelling guest experience.

“Airbnb is empowering people and communities that have not previously benefited from tourism. Through the Airbnb platform, people can finally gain access to the tourism industry, earn additional income and showcase the best of their community to guests from around the world", said Country Manager South Africa at Airbnb, Velma Corcoran.

ALSO READ: Airbnb's new feature allows pre-payments

TOP STORY: Public sector wage negotiations are deadlocked

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE