Airbnb looks to double business in Africa

Airbnb, the U.S.-based room-rental service, expects to continue to expand in Africa in 2017 after 143-percent growth there in 2016.

Chief Executive Brian Chesky said on Friday, March 17, that he expects to double the firm’s visitors to Africa to 1.5 million this year.

The company currently lists 77,000 homes in Africa—out of 3 million worldwide—which was a 95 percent increase from 2015–2016. Airbnb says 765,000 guests visited those homes in 2016.

Chesky says the number of available rentals could easily reach the hundreds of thousands on a continent with over a billion residents. he called the continent “an incredibly exciting emerging market for travel.”

“Africa is a incredibly exciting, emerging market for travel,” Chesky told Reuters. “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.”

South Africa, with the most rental units, is the top-ranked Airbnb African destination, attracting tourists mainly from the U.S, Germany, UK and Netherlands.

The top five Airbnb cities in Africa are Cape Town, Marrakesh, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Casablanca, though there are rooms available in such unexpected or out-of-the-way locations as the island of St. Helena, Freetown, Sierra Leone, and even some rooms for rent in Somalia.


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