Airbnb, an online marketplace for short-to-long-term homestays, has announced a new three-year commitment that will empower tourism in South African townships.
Airbnb holds true to its Africa investment
The booking platform has partnered with the University of Johannesburg (UJ), telecommunications company Ikeja and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal to “build a new generation of tourism entrepreneurs in South Africa.”
In a bid to action its R15 million ($1 million) commitment to develop tourism in Africa, made in 2017, the US company will work with partners to create more inclusive job opportunities and lower the barrier of entry for tourism entrepreneurs in South Africa.
“The three-part commitment to widen and support inclusion in the tourism economy will support existing tourism entrepreneurs, help remove barriers to entry, and enable a new generation of South Africans to benefit from the tourism economy, as travel returns following the pandemic,” the platform said in a statement.
Here are the three initiatives
Here is a look at how the company’s Inclusive Tourism Commitment will benefit South Africans:
Free wi-fi for township communities
Airbnb has partnered with low-cost prepaid wi-fi provider Ikeja to bring free wi-fi to township communities using at least 100 Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy Hosts.
“Each of these 100 Hosts will become a wifi hotspot within their community, giving 100’s of others access, resulting in a powerful network effect,” the booking platform said.
Airbnb Academy training
Airbnb will extend its ongoing Entrepreneurship Academy that launched in 2017. This time around, the booking platform has partnered with UJ’s School of Tourism and Hospitality “to extend entrepreneurship training to their students through the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy.”
“In addition we plan to expand the Academy to more regions to reach 1000’s of budding entrepreneurs in township and rural communities over the next three years,” the platform added.
R1.5 million investment opportunity
Building on its investment of R1-million in 2020, the booking platform will contribute R1.5 million to support Academy graduates from township and rural communities who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The fund is open to Airbnb Hosts who have participated in the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy,” the statement read.
Here’s how the fund’s application process works:
- Email invites are sent to eligible Hosts who have previously participated in the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy Programme.
- Airbnb will review and respond to all applications from the Hosts who received an invitation.
- For each approved application, a relief grant of up to R25 000 will be awarded within four weeks.
“This grant comes with no strings attached – Hosts won’t need to repay it and can use it however they need,” Airbnb said.