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Organisation reports $685m direct economic impact for SA and spreads tourism benefits to local communities

AirBnB is becoming a financial force to be reckoned with in the South African accommodation sector. A survey conducted by the company based on host earnings and guest spending for last year showed that Airbnb’s estimated direct economic impact here was $685million (about R1.018billion).

The global figure was more than $100bn generated across 30 countries. Way on top of the list was the US with $33.8bn, followed by four European countries – France ($10.8bn), Spain ($6.9bn), Italy ($6.4bn) and the UK ($5.6bn).

South Africa entered the list at 22, ahead of Denmark, Switerland, Austria and Argentina, but way behind Australia, Portugal, Greece and Croatia. The survey was the sum of host earnings, based on internal Airbnb data, and estimated guest spending.

The guest spending figures were based on nearly 12000 responses to a voluntary survey. Velma Corcoran, Airbnb’s country manager for sub-Saharan Africa, says the organisation is helping to spread tourism benefits to families, communities and local businesses.

“It’s never been easier to travel to, and stay in, South Africa’s smaller towns. Visitors are discovering local hospitality and hidden gems they might otherwise have missed, while supporting new economies and revenue streams that help make local communities stronger.”

She says 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 more than 80%, and Saldanha Bay 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.”

Globally, she says Airbnb has helped spread the benefits of tourism to some of the least visited destinations. Between 2016 and last year, guest arrivals of travellers on the Airbnb platform increased substantially in places like Moldova (190%), Vanuatu (187%) and New Caledonia (175%).

The survey found 84% of hosts recommended restaurants and cafes to guests; 69% recommended cultural activities, such as museums and festivals; and 51% said Airbnb had helped them afford their homes.

Guests in the survey reported 42% of their spending occurred in the neighbourhood where they stayed, and also said by saving money on accommodation they were able to add on average 4.3 days to their trip. Airbnb’s direct economic impact last year (30 countries ), based on host income and estimated guest spending during trip.

  1. US: $33.8 billion
  2. France: $10.8bn
  3. Spain: $6.9bn
  4. Italy: $6.4bn
  5. UK: $5.6bn
  6. Australia: $4.4bn
  7. Canada: $4.3bn
  8. Japan: $3.5bn
  9. Mexico: $2.7bn
  10. Portugal: $2.3bn
  11. Germany: $2.3bn
  12. China: $2.3bn
  13. Brazil: $2.1bn
  14. Greece: $1.4bn
  15. Netherlands: $1.3bn
  16. Korea: $1.2bn
  17. Thailand: $1.1bn
  18. New Zealand: $912m
  19. Croatia: $910m
  20. Ireland: $832m
  21. Malaysia: $734m
  22. South Africa: $685m
  23. Argentina: $664m
  24. Denmark: $654m
  25. Switzerland: $651m
  26. Austria: $625m
  27. Indonesia: $593m
  28. Philippines: $586m
  29. Colombia: $560m
  30. Czech Republic: $555m.
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