Airbnb partners with government and local organizations to grow inclusive tourism in the Waterberg region

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Airbnb announces the expansion of the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy to the Waterberg area in support of the President’s District Development Model (DDM) – a pilot project designed to bring together government and private partners to address poverty, inequality and unemployment in the district municipality level.

Local partnerships have also been signed with the district municipality of Waterberg, the biosphere reserve and the Lapalala Wilderness School. The program will promote the region to help build the local tourism economy, develop the skills of local families to open their homes and benefit from the growth of tourism and the biodiversity economy, and help develop tourism sustainably and while protecting the environment.

The Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy is a skills development program for women and youth in townships and rural communities interested in tourism. The academy gives participants the skills, practical tools, and support they need to use technology to access and succeed on the Airbnb platform as tourism entrepreneurs. The academy will mainly focus on women and youth from rural areas and townships in the district.

Academy expansion is the subject of a new survey of 1,800 South African hosts and guests on Airbnb strong points – for the first time – how the cost of living crisis is pushing people to become hosts on Airbnb. Half of hosts in South Africa say they host to meet the rising cost of living, and more than a third say the extra income helps them make ends meet. Last year, hosts in South Africa collectively earned over R2 billion.

Working with the government and its partners, Airbnb will help build a foundation in the Waterberg – a relatively untouristy part of South Africa – that can spur an inclusive economic recovery and shine a spotlight on the region as a destination for local travelers looking for unique stays and experiences.

The Waterberg region is an area designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is known for its nature and conservation as well as sites that bear witness to humanity dating back three million years. Tourism has been identified as a key driver of economic growth in the region.

This innovative public-private partnership draws on the experience of Airbnb Inclusive Tourism Commitment over 3 years to empower a new generation of tourism entrepreneurs in South Africa.

The first Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy Bootcamp was held in Modimolle in the Waterberg region from May 31 to June 1, attended by 25 tourism entrepreneurs from across the district.

Velma Corcoran, Regional Manager for Middle East Africa at Airbnb, said, “As the cost of living crisis rages, it is extremely important that we continue to reduce the barriers to becoming a tourism entrepreneur to ensure that everyone can benefit from tourism. We are really excited to work in collaboration with partners as strong at the local level, looking to embrace the changes in travel. We believe that the Waterberg is a pilot region for this way of working, which we will aim to develop and activate in other areas, in order to create an economy more diverse and inclusive tourism.

Mr. Preciousstone Raputsoa, ​​Municipal Manager of Waterberg District, said, “The District Municipality is delighted to see our collaboration with Airbnb yielding concrete results, to activate and support inclusive tourism in the Waterberg in support of the district’s development model. This delivery also indirectly successfully responds to the devastation to the tourism industry caused by Covid-19, and we look forward to developing and expanding this collaboration. »

Letticia Mahlatji, Waterberg Biosphere Reserve Coordinator, said, “One of the main goals of the reserve is to find opportunities to help people living on the reserve with livelihoods, skills and employment opportunities in order to grow the local economy – while ensuring that that negative environmental impacts are minimized and ecosystems remain intact. It is a pleasure to work with Airbnb on this strategic project which we believe supports our mission.

This month, Airbnb launched its biggest upgrade in a decade, including a new way to search that will help customers discover millions of homes and destinations they never knew existed, while making travel less concentrated and extending customers and benefits to more families and communities around the world.

To learn more about the Africa Entrepreneurship Academy or to become a partner organization, visit the program website.

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