Airbnb Shows Steady Growth Across Africa With Egypt Leading The Way

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Airbnb Africa
Airbnb continues to show steady growth of guest arrivals across Africa. Photo – NPR

Airbnb has experienced steady growth in user numbers across the African continent as more visitors and tourists use the mobile platform to book places to stay in African destinations.

Airbnb, the mobile app-based hospitality booking site which allows people to make their homes or spare rooms available to visiting guests for a fee, recently released data to prove the growth of their company in terms of use in Africa, according to ITNewsAfrica.

Egypt experienced the most significant growth in guest arrivals by country, with a 134 percent increase, followed by 84 percent in Reunion, 69 percent in Kenya and 60 percent in South Africa.

Airbnb now has more than 100,000 listings across Africa, with the Egyptian regions of Hurghada and El Gouna growing by 220 and 215 percent respectively, while surprisingly Bloemfontein in South Africa saw growth of 190 percent, followed by Lagos, Nigeria with a 188 percent increase in guest arrivals.

South Africa remains the most popular destination for guest arrivals on Airbnb, experiencing a 60 percent increase in inbound guests since a year ago.

Hosts on Airbnb in South Africa have been welcoming guests into their homes since 2010, as the first African country to be included on the Airbnb platform.

Two years ago Cape Town accounted for one in every four African Airbnb properties, and the Mother City remains the most popular city on the continent, with 17,000 properties in the popular South African city alone, meaning that 17 percent of African Airbnb properties can be found in Cape Town, according to IOL.

Cape Town boasts the third-most guests of any city in the southern hemisphere, behind only Sydney and Melbourne.

Airbnb’s success story in Africa is down to steady growth, with this latest data representing a sixth straight year of strong growth on the platform from an African perspective.

Hosts in Africa welcomed 1.2 million guests to the continent between September 2016 and Sept.1 2017, while earning a combined $139 million in host income, according to Businesstech.

Airbnb growth and investment

In October last year Airbnb made a commitment to invest $1 million in community-led tourism projects across the African continent over the course of the next few years, according to ITWeb.

The investment from the hospitality booking site will be used to enable a number of initiatives, including an expanded host-training program within South African townships, enabling hosts to use the Airbnb technology and training them in hospitality.

The company is one of a number of tech giants investing in Africa, and with yet another year of strong growth on the continent, Airbnb is being rewarded for its focus on growing its African market.

Their investment will also aim to promote sustainable and inclusive tourism through technology, with Airbnb set to host an Africa Travel Summit in Cape Town this year, with over 80 thought leaders and other travel stakeholders from across the continent descending on the Mother City.

While Airbnb has been growing at a steady rate, some countries have pushed back due to the damage that has been done to their regulated tourism.

Moroccan officials announced plans to tax Airbnb from 2019 in an effort to balance the playing field with regards to the over 3,800 hotels and numerous travel agencies in the country, according to Bloomberg.