Airbnb reveals R10 billion economic impact for South Africa amid rule changes

Home-sharing platform Airbnb says that it generated nearly R10 billion ($685 million) towards South Africa’s economy in 2018.

It comes at a time when South Africa has proposed a new Tourism Amendment Bill is set to be legislated under the Tourism Act in South Africa.

Under the amendments, the minister of tourism will have the power to specify certain ‘thresholds’ when it comes to Airbnbs in South Africa, which could include limits on the number of nights that a guest can stay or even how much income an Airbnb earns.

According to new survey findings and an analysis of internal data, Airbnb said that its host and guest community generated over $100 billion in estimated direct economic impact across 30 countries in 2018 alone, including South Africa.

“Travel on Airbnb is helping to spread tourism benefits to more families, communities and local businesses,” said Velma Corcoran, Airbnb country manager for Sub-Saharan Africa. “It’s never been easier to travel to and stay in South Africa’s smaller towns.

“Visitors are discovering local hospitality and hidden gems that they might otherwise have missed, while supporting new economies and revenue streams that help make local communities stronger.”

Locally, there has been a significant increase in host earnings on Airbnb in smaller towns. Mossel Bay, for example, saw a year-on-year increase of over 80%, while Saldanha Bay in the Cape saw an increase of almost 60% over the same period. Host earnings in Garden Route towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and George increased by 48%, 58% and 74%, respectively.

According to an Airbnb survey of more than 228,000 responses from our host and guest community around the world:

  • 84% of hosts on Airbnb say they recommend restaurants and cafes to guests.
  • 69% of hosts on Airbnb say they recommend cultural activities such as museums, festivals, and historical sites to guests.
  • 51% of hosts on Airbnb say hosting has helped them afford their homes.
  • On average, guests on Airbnb say 42% of their spending occurs in the neighbourhood where they stay.
  • 50% of guests say they spent the money they saved by staying in a home on Airbnb in the cities and neighbourhoods they visited.
  • 70% of guests say wanting to explore a specific neighbourhood matters in their decision to use Airbnb.
  • 86% of guests say the location being more convenient than hotels matters in their decision to use Airbnb.
  • Guests who say Airbnb impacted the length of their stay on average added 4.3 days to their trip.

Read: Airbnb’s big problem with South Africa’s proposed tourism laws

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Airbnb reveals R10 billion economic impact for South Africa amid rule changes