Airbnb's R8bn domestic travel effect during pandemic
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Airbnb contributed more than R8-billion to the economy, supporting about 22 000 jobs, a new report from independent consultancy Genesis Analytics found.
The report, commissioned by Airbnb, highlights how the Airbnb platform is contributing to the growth of the tourist economy, especially by empowering groups typically excluded from the benefits of tourism, like those living in rural and township communities.
Airbnb has also invested in community-led initiatives, including the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy that helped train more than 300 Hosts – who earned more than R2.8-million in 18 months.
The report also illustrates that Airbnb is an accessible choice for domestic travellers, offering an array of accommodation needs, in more varied locations, at affordable prices.
According to Genesis Analytics analysis of Airbnb data, evidence from the townships of Soweto and Tembisa shows that, before 2019, there were more visits from international tourists than domestic tourists.
However, by 2019, the pattern had reversed – as townships became a popular domestic tourism destination. These areas are also seeing positive growth in the number of Hosts on Airbnb, with figures in Soweto more than doubling from 2016 to 2019, albeit off a low base.
Across South Africa, additional Airbnb research has revealed new Hosts on Airbnb, who welcomed their first guests in the first six months of 2021, and have only one listing – have collectively made over R1.8-billion hosting on Airbnb.
Half of the new listings, that were both activated and booked in early 2021, got a reservation request within seven days, with the average annual earnings per Host, who had welcomed at least one guest, was R55 800.
Regional lead Middle East Africa at Airbnb Velma Corcoran said the new report shows that the rise in domestic tourism on Airbnb is helping to drive inclusive economic recovery in South Africa.
“It has generated R8-billion to the economy during 2020 and supported 22 000 jobs.
“We are at an early and pivotal stage in South Africa’s recovery, following the pandemic, where intentional effort and collaboration is needed from all parties to further support a diverse, sustainable, and inclusive tourism economy. It’s why, as part of Airbnb’s vision for tourism, we set out our support for clear and sensible rules in South Africa, and for the introduction of a nationwide registration system, giving the government data to enforce proportionate regulation, offering transparency to communities, and empowering local tourism entrepreneurs to grow their businesses,” she said.
Ryan Short, a partner at Genesis Analytics, who led the study, said the research supports the view that Airbnb is creating inclusive growth
“The biggest beneficiaries of this inclusion are non-traditional tourism provinces, smaller towns, and female entrepreneurs, while the growth in township hosting is also encouraging. Perhaps the most exciting finding, however, is how the platform is unlocking a new demand for domestic tourism and enabling more South Africans to see their own country. In our view, the public and private sectors should work together to ensure these promising foundations of inclusive growth are built upon,” said Short.