Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) and AfricaIgnite in partnership with Airbnb on Tuesday launched the Airbnb Academy in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Academy was designed by Airbnb to encourage healthy tourism and entrepreneurship in rural and under-resourced communities across the African continent.
It helps locals outside the usual tourist hotspots build the digital skills they need to tap into the tourism economy by offering home-stays or experiences that can generate additional income.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to ensure that our emerging tourism entrepreneurs can fully participate in the mainstream tourism sector and more job opportunities are created through the sector," acting chief executive officer of TKZN, Phindile Makwakwa said.
Makwakwa said the collaboration would boost the province's tourism offering by providing tourists with a wider range of tourism experiences to choose from when they visit.
Budding tourism entrepreneurs from across the province gathered to take part in the two-day accelerator programme in the San Lameer, Ugu District.
Hosted by TKZN and AfricaIgnite, the programme took place from 20-21 April 2020.
Over the two days, participants learned digital skills to gain an in-depth understanding of ways they can use the Airbnb platform to generate additional incomes, whether that’s through hosting, co-hosting, or leading a local experience.
Velma Corcoran, Airbnb Regional Lead, Middle East Africa, said Airbnb was committed to inclusive economic recovery.
"Through this work we hope to help raise the profile of local tourism and hospitality entrepreneurs so that they can be more competitive and gain a greater share of tourism spend," CEO, Dr. Niki Glen said.
TKZN and AfricaIgnite said they had plans to roll out further accelerator programmes, supported by Airbnb, in different locations across the province in the future.
The Airbnb Academy is part of Airbnb’s $1-million commitment to boost community-led tourism in Africa.
It was recognised in 2020 as the best practice in Poverty Alleviation Through Tourism by the World Tourism Alliance, World Bank Group, and the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC).