In 2022, Airbnb contributed some R23.5-billion to South Africa’s GDP, a 115% increase and remarkable rebound from pre-Covid levels in 2019.
This is according to a new and independent economic impact report on Airbnb operations in South Africa by Genesis Analytics, which found that the Airbnb model makes it easier for hosts to enter the tourism market.
Last year, guest nights were up by 34% compared with 2019, with affordability being the main reason reported by guests for using Airbnb. The most commonly reported reason for hosting was to cover the rising cost of living. Hosting is particularly gender-inclusive in South Africa, with 64% of surveyed hosts identifying as female, compared to a global average of 55%.
Airbnb also helps to spread the benefits of tourism. While international demand remains concentrated in the Western Cape and Gauteng, domestic tourism on Airbnb saw growth in various other parts of the country. Seven of the 10 fastest-growing towns on the platform are outside the Western Cape and Gauteng.
On average, Airbnb guests spend nearly R3 000/day on non-accommodation expenses and more than half of this spending takes place in local neighbourhoods.
Genesis report co-leads Ryan Short and Mark Schoeman said: “The report highlights Airbnb’s significant contribution to the economy and, in the metrics measured, the growth of more inclusive tourism. More widespread domestic travel is an impressive inclusion story. And happily, we found a big bounce-back in domestic travel post-Covid.”
Strong domestic travel contributed to the resilience of the tourism industry during Covid-19, when international travel was banned. By creating opportunities for affordable domestic tourism, Airbnb helped to keep the sector afloat during the pandemic.
In 2022, nationwide host earnings totalled just over R4-billion — a 25% increase from pre-Covid levels in 2019 of R3.2-billion. The increase in tourism was driven by domestic travellers who accounted for more than 60% of the total nights spent on the platform. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media