Airbnb announces plans for accelerated SA growth

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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky today announced plans to accelerate its growth in South African and the continent as a whole.

Speaking at an event Johannesburg Chesky officially launched the platform in South Africa and announced that the country is officialy the company’s largest African market.

“South Africa is an incredibly beautiful and diverse country, with so much to offer visitors,” Chesky said. “We have a vibrant and welcoming community here, which we look forward to expanding so that even more visitors can benefit from the unique and local experiences our hosts provide.”

The Airbnb CEO also announced the appointment of Nicola D’Elia as General Manager for the region. A Facebook alumnus, D’Elia was responsible for Facebook’s growth and partnerships in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Read more: Airbnb is not competing with hotels says co-founder [LeWeb]

According to Airbnb, D’Elia will build out a team to accelerate Airbnb’s growth in Africa and the Middle East.

Chesky’s Johannesburg appearance came off the back of him attending the Global Entrepreneurial Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

“The spirit of entrepreneurialism is a common thread that unites the Airbnb community across the globe,” he said at the event. “I’m thrilled to meet so many entrepreneurs here at GES who will build and grow this community throughout Africa. And I’m excited to see how Airbnb will empower people across the continent to make extra income while providing travelers with a truly authentic experience.”

Read more: Planning a trip to Aus? Use Airbnb? You can now sleep in Ikea

Airbnb shared some statistics revealing it growth in the country over the last 12 months:

  • South Africa is currently the largest market for Airbnb in Africa with 9 400 homes listed, an increase of 138%.
  • South Africa is becoming an increasingly popular global destination, with the number of people staying in places booked through Airbnb in South Africa increasing by 257%.
  • The number of South Africans using Airbnb to travel has increased by 163%.
  • While most South Africans that have used Airbnb have traveled within the country, the most popular international destinations include the US, Italy, France and the UK.
  • Across Africa, two of the five largest markets for Airbnb are in South Africa including Cape Town and Johannesburg.

One of the most talked about tech companies of the last few years, Airbnb is valued at North of US$25-billion. The company has placements for rooms in more than 35 000 cities and 192 countries around the world.



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