Internet travel booking service Airbnb has revealed how South Africans are using the service to make extra money.
It said that local hosts earn on average R28 800/year as tourists make South Africa a travel destination.
“Cape Town and South Africa offer tremendous beauty; the tourism infrastructure is great,” Nicola D’Elia, MD for Africa and Middle East at Airbnb, said from a host’s home in Cape Town.
The company has reported 190% growth in local hosts to 7 500, with 134 000 inbound guests, representing growth of 250%, and guests staying an average of 4,9 nights.
But D’Elia said the company was working hard to prevent unpleasant incidents that could mar the travelling experience.
“When we’re talking about security or safety, this is not something that is unique to South Africa. It’s something that is at the core of our mission,” he said.
The platform employs 250 trust and safety officials available for guest or host problems and offers users the ability to verify IDs to promote trust.
It also only allows reviews from guests and hosts who have booked with each other.
“If you look at the numbers, on average last summer we had one million guests travelling on Airbnb every single day. Our community is based on trust and safety is paramount for us,” said D’Elia.
The depreciation of the rand has made South Africa more attractive to foreign visitors who make up 72% of the local Airbnb visitors.
“Sometimes Capetonians have a reputation for being a little closed, being a little bit insular, and not being that open. The fact that you have 7 500 hosts now in Cape Town, you’ve got a lot of Capetonians who are literally opening up their homes and their lives to guests from around the world,” said Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, himself an Airbnb host.