Airbnb set to train 1,000 young entrepreneurs in South Africa as business owners
South Africa's tourism industry is one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But things are looking up, according to the Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs at Airbnb.
Bruce Whitfield chats to Chris Lehane about the future of South Africa's travel industry and Airbnb's empowerment plans for aspiring hosts in the country.
The US company recently announced its three-year plan to empower a new generation of what it calls micro entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Lehane notes that Airbnb now has more than 4 million hosts around the world and recently passed the landmark number of a billion guest arrivals.
South Africa has always been an important part of our larger community, a portal into all of Africa.Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs - Airbnb
An important focus for a number of years now has been to ensure that the global network is inclusive, he says.
Lehane recalls how, after spending a night in Khayelitsha in 2017, he announced the establishment of an Airbnb Academy.
Flash forward to where we are today and we've taken that basic concept and expanded it to 36 different communities across South Africa.Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs - Airbnb
What we most recently announced was an effort to super-charge that larger programme.Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs - Airbnb
He outlines their main goals which include achieving greater accessibility via WiFi in townships and rural areas and setting up a three-year education programme in partnership with the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
This is to actually train 1,000 young 'micro entrepreneurs'... who are looking to participate in travel and tourism not from a service industry perspective, but actually as owners.Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs - Airbnb
Airbnb has already supported local hosts during the Covid-19 pandemic with a cash injection to help keep them afloat and is now providing further financial support.
Airbnb does democratise travel and tourism. The greatest part of the economics that get generated are not going to a corporate entity, they are going to our actual hosts... These are everyday people...Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs - Airbnb
Over 100 billion dollars have gone to those folks through the Airbnb platform and you see that manifesting itself specifically in South Africa. We generated 22,000 jobs over the pandemic through the platform from guest spending...Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs - Airbnb
Our hosts who have at least hosted one person over the pandemic are averaging about R55,000 a year through Airbnb.Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs - Airbnb
Listen to the audio below for Lehane's positive assessment of the future of the tourism industry:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Airbnb set to train 1,000 young entrepreneurs in South Africa as business owners
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