U.S.- based room-rental service Airbnb says it expects development figures in Africa to twofold in 2017 as the service continues to expand, picking up a much more grounded solid footing on the continent.
In 2016 alone, Airbnb recorded a 143 percent growth rate in Africa.
Airbnb says it currently lists about 77,000 homes in Africa, a 95 percent increase from previous year figures. The company also says 765,000 guests visited those homes in 2016.
Founded in 2008, by Chesky and Joe Gebbia, Airbnb (Air, Bed, and Breakfast) is an online marketplace and hospitality service, enabling people to lease or rent short-term lodging, including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms.
The company does not own any lodging; it is merely a broker and receives a percentage of service fees (commissions) from both guests and hosts in conjunction with every booking.
It has more than 3 million lodging listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries, and the cost of lodging is set by the host.
In an interview with Reuters, Chesky said, “Africa is a incredibly exciting, emerging market for travel,” adding, “When we started Airbnb, I don’t think a lot of people in the United States and other places talked about going to Africa.
“Now people are realizing that actually you don’t just do safaris, but they can actually live in communities.
“They’ve really cool cultures here.”
Chesky made the remarks while visiting Langa, Cape Town’s oldest township, where he had made a surprise appearance during a graduation ceremony for Airbnb trainees.
Airbnb ranks South Africa, one of the earliest adopters of Airbnb, as the No. 1 country in Africa in terms of listings and visitors, with many of them from the United States, Germany, Britain, and the Netherlands.
According to Airbnb, the top five cities for its services in Africa are Cape Town, Marrakesh, Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Casablanca, although there were also listing for rooms in such unexpected or out-of-the-way locations as the island of St. Helena and Freetown, Sierra Leone. There were even a couple of rooms listed for rent in conflict-ravaged Somalia.