Airbnb adds R2.4bn to SA economy in 2016, hosts 400 000 visitors

cape town city airbnb henning supertramp flickr

Airbnb has this week published its annual economic report, which sheds some light on the home sharing platform’s economic impact on various global economies.

South Africa happens to be one of these economies.

Publishing its effect on South Africa’s economy just prior to the Tourism Indaba taking place in Durban in May, the company makes some notable claims.

For one, it suggest that it generated around R2.4-billion for the South African economy in 2016, considering the expenditure of guests and the income accrued by the 16 000 hosts last year. R817-million of that income was earned by local households.

The company also notes that nearly 400 000 guests used hosts’ homes in the country. Additionally, around 37% of those guests were South African.

Overall, that number has grown from 38 000 in 2014.

Around 400 000 homes were available on Airbnb in 2016, bringing in around R817-million for hosts

“The typical host on Airbnb in South Africa shares their home for 16 days a year and earns an additional 28 000 ZAR a year,” the report adds.

“The typical host is 45 years old and 40 percent of them are freelancers, entrepreneurs or self-employed.”

Key takeaways:

– Added R1.7bn to Cape Town local economy in 2016
– 332 000 more guests used Airbnb in SA in 2016
– 303% more people used Airbnb in Durban in 2016
– 4.3 days spent in an Airbnb in SA in 2016

Airbnb also states that half of those hosting homes use the income to “help afford to stay in their homes”.

Beyond the financials, the company also suggests that it has had a profound impact on the nature of the travel experience in the country.

“Guests on Airbnb in South Africa stay an average of 4.3 days per trip and over 30 percent of guests indicated they would not have come or stayed as long in South Africa without Airbnb,” it explains.

“85 percent of guests said they chose Airbnb ‘to live like a local’ and 79 percent chose Airbnb to explore a neighborhood.”

Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban see economic gains

On a city-by-city basis, Airbnb has had a notable impact on Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

The company experienced 143% growth year-on-year in terms of guest arrivals in Cape Town, equating to 191 000 visitors. R564-million was earned by hosts.

“In total, the Airbnb community boosted the local economy in Cape Town by R1.7-billion in 2016,” it notes.

As for Johannesburg and Durban, 29 000 guests used the service in 2016 in South Africa’s largest city, while 16 000 called Durban a temporary home.

“In total, the Airbnb community boosted the local economy in Johannesburg by R120-million in 2016,” the company adds, while R74-million was added to the city’s economy.

Durban by contrast saw a 303% visitor growth rate in 2016, adding an estimated R76-million to the local economy.

For a more granular overview of each city, you can have a look at the full report here.

Feature image: Henning Supertramp via Flickr (CC BY 2.0, resized)

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