American tourism coy, Airbnb is set to train 1,000 young entrepreneurs in South Africa as business owners, a move which will serve as a boost to the country’s tourism sector following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to co.za, South Africa’s tourism industry is one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. But things are looking up, according to the Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs at Airbnb, Chris Lehane.
The US company recently announced a three-year commitment to empower a new generation of entrepreneurs through inclusive economic recovery in South Africa.
Lehane notes that Airbnb now has more than 4 million hosts around the world and recently passed the landmark number of a billion guest arrivals.
South Africa has always been an important part of our larger community, a portal into all of Africa, he said.
An important focus for a number of years now has been to ensure that the global network is inclusive, he says.
Lehane recalls how, after spending a night in Khayelitsha in 2017, he announced the establishment of an Airbnb Academy.
“Flash forward to where we are today and we’ve taken that basic concept and expanded it to 36 different communities across South Africa.”
“What we most recently announced was an effort to super-charge that larger programme.”
He outlines their main goals which include achieving greater accessibility via WiFi in townships and rural areas and setting up a three-year education programme in partnership with the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
“This is to actually train 1,000 young ‘micro entrepreneurs’… who are looking to participate in travel and tourism not from a service industry perspective, but actually as owners.”
Airbnb has already supported local hosts during the Covid-19 pandemic with a cash injection to help keep them afloat and is now providing further financial support.
Airbnb does democratise travel and tourism. The greatest part of the economics that get generated are not going to a corporate entity, they are going to our actual hosts… These are everyday people…
Over 100 billion dollars have gone to those folks through the Airbnb platform and you see that manifesting itself specifically in South Africa. We generated 22,000 jobs over the pandemic through the platform from guest spending…
Our hosts who have at least hosted one person over the pandemic are averaging about R55,000 a year through Airbnb.