New data released by Airbnb suggests that the business brought an estimate R5-billion in economic activity to the Western Cape in 2017, with R1-billion of that going directly to hosts.

The data looks at host earnings as well as guest spending, and found that the app had facilitated a serious boost to the local economy with over half a million guests visiting in 2017. Country manager for South Africa, Velma Corcoran, said the Airbnb process has helped spread the tourist income around and put money in the pockets of regular people,  instead of limiting it to big hotel groups and typical tourist areas.

“Everytime a guest visits South Africa using Airbnb, local families and their communities benefit,” Corcoran said. “Last year saw a record number of guests visiting the Western Cape on Airbnb and we’re delighted to help spread the benefits of tourism beyond the typical tourist hot spots to lesser known towns and neighbourhoods.”

She said that Airbnb gives visitors the unique opportunity to live like a local, and explore the area through the recommendations of their hosts.

“We look forward to seeing guests discover more unique, diverse and welcoming communities across the region throughout the year.”

Here are some insights from the data:

    1. Airbnb guests to the Western Cape grew by 86% last year compared to 2016. There were nearly 15 000 host homes, and over 540 000 guests from around the world.
    2. More than one third of all the visitors were from other regions of South Africa, showing that locals are using Airbnb to explore other cities within their home country. US visitors were second highest, with 54 600 guest arrivals and Great Britain third with 54 400.
    3. The typical host earned around R34 400 a year for Airbnb stays in their home. Total host earnings for 2017 were R1 billion.
    4. The typical Airbnb guest spend around R1715 per day in local businesses.
    5. Trending destinations outside of the usual tourists hotspots saw the biggest growth last year. There was a 213% increase in people staying in Beaufort West, and a 208% increase in Ceres.



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