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Airbnb opening the door to women becoming tourism entrepreneurs

Elizabeth Tellmann and Fadziso Choto are Airbnb hosts in the southern suburbs.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA Pics

Elizabeth Tellmann and Fadziso Choto are Airbnb hosts in the southern suburbs.Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA Pics

Published Aug 4, 2022

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As we prepare to mark National Women’s Day next week, it has never been more important to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe.

Data from Airbnb highlights how women especially have turned to hosting on the platform in order to become tourism entrepreneurs.

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According to the data, women hosts now make up 56% of Airbnb’s global Host community, and an even higher proportion in South Africa at 65%.

Airbnb also revealed that women are embracing hosting at a higher rate than men, with 21% more women joining the platform than men in 2021.

Women hosts now make up 56% of Airbnb’s global Host community. Picture: Unsplash

“New women hosts earned approximately $1.1 billion on the platform in 2021, including approximately R62 million in South Africa. In fact, between 1 January 2010 and 31 January 2022 women hosts in South Africa have earned approximately R6bn collectively,” said Airbnb.

The popular online bed and breakfast platform, with global earnings of more than $12bn in 2021, revealed that women are not only home-sharing pioneers but also masters of hospitality, with responsive and clear communication, an emphasis on cleanliness and incredible overall experiences. In fact, in 2021, women hosts received a higher share of 5-star reviews (91%) than their male counterparts (89%).

Closer to home, Airbnb announced that it was continuing to invest in empowering women to become tourism entrepreneurs with a new three-year commitment to address barriers to entry in the industry, and to help rebuild a more inclusive and resilient domestic tourism economy.

The commitment, focused on infrastructure, training and investment, will see Airbnb expand its Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy to more places, and work together with partners to provide at least 100 Airbnb Academy hosts and their communities with free wi-fi.

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Hosting on Airbnb offers a flexible and accessible form of income, creating an attractive opportunity for women in communities all over the world. Picture: Unsplash

Each of these 100 hosts, the vast majority of whom are women, will become a wi-fi hot spot within their community, giving hundreds of others access, resulting in a powerful network effect.

Velma Corcoran, Airbnb regional lead, Middle East Africa, said that with the rising cost of living the economic benefits of hosting are proving more important than ever and they are committed to unlocking economic opportunities for women across South Africa, particularly in rural and township communities.

Mhinti Pato, Experiences Host on Airbnb and an Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy graduate, said she loved hosting on Airbnb because she got to meet people from different countries, different backgrounds, and also to share her story of growing up in a township in South Africa.

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“The Academy taught us how to be comfortable using the Airbnb platform and how to become good Hosts, to be proud of where we are coming from and be able to present it to the world,” said Pato.

Read the latest issue of IOL Travel digital magazine here.

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