Findings released during Airbnb’s Africa Travel Summit found that South African Airbnb hosts have earned over R4 billion since the platform was founded in 2008, the Sunday Times reports.
A report based on data compiled by Genesis Analytics found that Airbnb has had a significant positive impact on South Africa’s economy, especially in popular tourist destinations such as Cape Town.
In the period from June 2017 – May 2018, Airbnb generated around R8.7 billion in economic impact in South Africa, the report stated.
“Hosts across the country are using their extra income from hosting to make ends meet and otherwise afford to stay in their homes,” the report said.
Pushback against Airbnb
Airbnb has experienced significant opposition from the traditional tourist industry in many countries, however, including South Africa.
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa has repeatedly called for the service to be regulated, but the platform is still operating freely for now.
SA Tourism partnered with Airbnb for the travel summit, and said that collaboration with the international giant was a smart move.
“It would definitely be to our disadvantage if we [didn’t] play or collaborate with the world’s largest accommodation platform,” said SA Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona.
Ntshona added that Airbnb should compete with traditional organisations within the same standardised and competitive arena, with hosts being subject to commercial rates and taxes and employees classified correctly under industry regulations.
Airbnb said it supports over 22,000 jobs across South Africa, and the popularity of the platform is growing quickly each year compared to traditional tourism sectors such as the hotel industry.
The company is readying for an initial public offering next year, and recently requested permission for the ability to grant hosts equity in the company.
Granting participants in the “gig economy” equity in a business from an earlier stage will further align incentives between such companies and their partners.