Airbnb homes in on African growth story

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa (Reuters) - Three of Airbnb's top growth markets are in Africa and the continent has become a cornerstone of the U.S. company's sustainable tourism strategy, a senior official with the home-sharing service said on Thursday.

Reuters November 23, 2018 01:05:57 IST
Airbnb homes in on African growth story

Airbnb homes in on African growth story

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa (Reuters) - Three of Airbnb's top growth markets are in Africa and the continent has become a cornerstone of the U.S. company's sustainable tourism strategy, a senior official with the home-sharing service said on Thursday.

More than 3.5 million customers have stayed with Airbnb hosts across the continent since the company began operating in Africa, with roughly half of those coming in the past year.

South Africa constitutes the bulk of that business, followed by Morocco, Kenya and Egypt. But the rest of the continent is catching up, the company's South Africa manager, Velma Corcoran, told Reuters.

"Three of the top eight fastest-growing countries globally are in Africa: Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique," she said on the sidelines of a tourism conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

As of July, Nigeria had recorded year-on-year growth in guest arrivals of 213 percent. Growth in Ghana and Mozambique was 141 percent and 136 percent respectively.

"They're off a relatively small base, but that kind of growth has been really, really encouraging," Corcoran said.

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, the company says.

Corcoran said it 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.

Tourism is among 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.

"We're looking at Africa and South Africa as our flagship markets for how Airbnb is thinking about more inclusive and sustainable tourism," Corcoran said.

"We know that if we want to grow as a business over the next 10 or 20 years, that is going to be absolutely key."

($1 = 13.7300 rand)

(Reporting by Joe Bavier; Editing by David Goodman)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.