Since its founding in 2008, Airbnb hosts across Africa have earned more than $400 million in direct income from renting out their properties via the service, according to the company.South Africa constitutes the bulk of that business, followed by Morocco, Kenya and Egypt.Since San Francisco based company Airbnb began its operations in Africa, Kenya has emerged to become one of the core markets of the company as Africa increasingly continues to become a cornerstone of the US company’s sustainable tourism strategy.
Since its founding in 2008, Airbnb hosts across Africa have earned more than $400 million in direct income from renting out their properties via the service, according to the company.
South Africa constitutes the bulk of that business, followed by Morocco, Kenya and Egypt.
“We’re looking at Africa and South Africa as our flagship markets for how Airbnb is thinking about more inclusive and sustainable tourism,” Airbnb South Africa manager, Velma Corcoran said on the sidelines of a tourism conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Velma Corcoran, Airbnb South Africa manager. (Twitter)
Three African countries are currently the company’s top growth markets and more than 3.5 million customers have stayed with Airbnb hosts across Africa, with roughly half of those coming in the past year.
“Three of the top eight fastest-growing countries globally are in Africa: Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique,” Corcoran said.
As of July, Nigeria had recorded year-on-year growth in guest arrivals of 213 percent followed by Ghana and Mozambique at 141 percent and 136 percent respectively.
Abuja, Nigeria. (The Guardian Nigeria)
Tourism is one of Africa’s fastest-growing sectors and contributed nearly $178 billion, or roughly 8.1 percent, to the continent’s gross domestic product last year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
As a result, African governments now want a slice of Airbnb’s cake.
In September this year, Tanzania ordered all Airbnb operators to register their facilities with the government or face arrest.
Cape Town, South Africa. (The South African)
Rosada Musoma, assistant director of licensing and control in the ministry of tourism, said the government was keen to recognize the Airbnb facilities in the country and have them pay the required licence fees.
Siriri Akko, the executive secretary of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, supported the government’s move saying the decision would create fairness in business and protect tourists from any problems.
“Even if they (accommodation operators) receive a low number of tourists, they should pay taxes and license fees like others because their business is growing fast as tourists now want to experience life outside hotels,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying.
An early morning view across Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (The National)
The country reportedly earned $2.2 billion from 1.3 million tourists who visited in 2017, according to a report by Airbnb.
Corcoran said it was open to the idea and was working with other African governments to ensure they were able to benefit from the home-sharing market.
“Ideally what we want is government’s recognising home-sharing. Then we can work with them to put in place certain tools, like collecting and remitting tourism tax,” she said.