Airbnb pledges $500,000 to fund non-profits focused on economic empowerment, digital access and sustainability in Africa

As part of the Africa Travel Summit in Johannesburg, Airbnb has announced the Africa Pledge, a renewed commitment and $500,000 fund to support inclusive and sustainable tourism growth across the continent.

Over the next two years, the pledge will help governments and tourism organisations across Africa to identify and unlock new tourism opportunities; support Hosts and guests, and their communities; empower the next generation of tourism entrepreneurs; and support investment in the tourism ecosystem.

The pledge follows an Economic Impact Report released last week that showed Airbnb contributed more than R23.5 billion to the South African economy in 2022 – supporting almost 50,000 jobs – more than doubling its contribution to the growth of inclusive tourism since 2019. Airbnb will use the lessons and experience gained in South Africa to support inclusive and sustainable tourism in fast-growing African countries.

The launch of the pledge builds on Airbnb’s ongoing commitment to inclusive tourism in South Africa, and its recent proposals for new rules that aim to help build a more inclusive tourism economy.

Velma Corcoran, Regional Lead Middle East Africa at Airbnb, said, “This pledge is an important demonstration of Airbnb’s continued commitment for a truly sustainable, diverse and inclusive tourism industry – a travel economy for all. We believe in the power of public and private sector partnerships to support this important work, and we look forward to working together with governments, non profits and tourism organisations across Africa to make travel and hosting more accessible, safe, diverse, and affordable for everyone.” 

Through the Africa Pledge Airbnb will help countries across Africa with:

Investment in the tourism ecosystem

  • Airbnb will commit $500,000 to non profit organisations in Africa supporting economic empowerment, digital access and sustainability in the region. Airbnb will work with local stakeholders to identify organisations that should be considered for awards, with grants distributed by the Airbnb Community Fund. 

Identifying and unlocking tourism opportunities

  • In 2024, Airbnb will publish an Inclusive Tourism Growth White Paper to support countries in Africa in identifying opportunities across tourism and policy that will drive inclusive and sustainable tourism across the continent.
  • Airbnb will provide access to the City Portal to an additional 10 African countries to deliver data, insights and tools to local authorities and tourism organisations. The City Portal is a first-of-its-kind resource for local governments and tourism organisations to better understand the Airbnb landscape in their communities and unlock tourism opportunities.

Supporting Hosts, guests and communities

  • In partnership with destination marketing organisations, Airbnb will develop local Host and guest Guides to help Hosts to improve the visitor experience, and encourage guests to be good visitors.

Empowering the next generation of tourism entrepreneurs

  • Airbnb will expand the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy to five new countries across the next two years. Already available in South Africa and Kenya, the Academy is an entrepreneurship development program focused on introducing individuals from diverse and underrepresented communities to hosting on the Airbnb platform in coordination with local community partners.

Governments, destination marketing organisations and non profit organisations that are interested in finding out how they can be included in this pledge, can contact Airbnb directly via [email protected].

On 24 October, more than 200 policymakers, tourism experts, innovators and changemakers from across the continent gathered in Johannesburg to explore, innovate and collaborate on building an inclusive and sustainable tourism industry across Africa. The Summit, hosted by Airbnb, is the second of its kind. Panel discussions were interspersed with fireside chats and changemaker sessions on topics such as The future of travel in Africa, Using public-private partnerships to create inclusive economic opportunities, and public-private partnerships to bridge the digital divide, among others.

Moderated by Afua Osei, co-founder of She Leads Africa, over 20 speakers and panellists participated in dynamic discussions, including Melvyn Lubega from Go1, Bheki Dube from Curiocity and Phakamile Hlazo from Zulu Nomad and Abongile Mashele from Google.

Airbnb was born in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to over 4 million Hosts who have welcomed over 1.5 billion guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe. Every day, Hosts offer unique stays and experiences that make it possible for guests to connect with communities in a more authentic way.


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