Moderator Anita Mendiratta, left, makes a point during a discussion between Kalle Palling of Estonia, second left, Lance Greyling of the City of Cape Town, and Rosette Rugamba of Rwanda on the topic of the government as an enabler for innovation.     Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Moderator Anita Mendiratta, left, makes a point during a discussion between Kalle Palling of Estonia, second left, Lance Greyling of the City of Cape Town, and Rosette Rugamba of Rwanda on the topic of the government as an enabler for innovation. Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Minister Najib Balala Cabinet Secretaty for Tourism Kenya and Tim Harris of Wesgro discussing the topic ‘Resilient Tourism in time of crisis’ at Guga Sthebe in Langa.
Minister Najib Balala Cabinet Secretaty for Tourism Kenya and Tim Harris of Wesgro discussing the topic ‘Resilient Tourism in time of crisis’ at Guga Sthebe in Langa.
Cape Town - More than 200 travel and tourism delegates from across Africa gathered in Langa this week to attend the first Airbnb Africa Travel Summit, where they exchanged information and ideas to make the sector more profitable.

The summit brought together Wesgro, the province’s tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, the City of Cape Town, the Africa Travel Association, SA Tourism, UCT Graduate School of Business and the World Bank Group. It was revealed that 22000 jobs had been created in the South African sector.

Airbnb’s global head of public policy and public affairs, Chris Lehane, said: “Tourism is an enormous opportunity for Africa and South Africa. We must now diversify that opportunity. Tourism’s greatest resource is people.”

He said tourism was the fastest-growing industry in the world and the only industry that united people from all walks of life.

Kenyan tourism minister Najib Balala called on delegates to be mindful of the fact that not all tourists came from the northern hemisphere.

“Travellers are moving away from traditional tourist spots and they are taking the opportunity to experience people and touch their lives,” said Balala.

Rwandan lodge owner Rosette Rugamba called for tourism to be moved from the leisure pages and on to the business pages of media.

Lehane said Airbnb was honouring its commitment to the continent and would invest $1million (R14m)in Africa in 2020 to promote and support community-led tourism projects. “This commitment is part of Airbnb’s vision to empower communities through home-sharing and to promote people-to-people tourism that benefits local families and their communities,” said Lehane.

“With Africa poised to become an even bigger player in global travel, it is critical that everyone in the travel sector work together to make sure the benefits go to local families and communities.”

Weekend Argus