Airbnb has revealed it will join forces with Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and Wesgro, a tourism, trade and investment agency in the Western Cape, to promote domestic travel as lockdown measures start to ease in South Africa.
Airbnb is also sharing global data which reveals that South Africans were among the leading nationalities for domestic travel at the beginning of this year.
According to Airbnb data, domestic tourism has traditionally been strong in South Africa as it is the second country worldwide in terms of popularity at the beginning of the year. It revealed that over 80 percent of trips booked on Airbnb this January and February were booked by South Africans. Additionally, in 2015, just under 40 percent of bookings by guests from South Africa were domestic but by 2019 that had risen to nearly 75 percent of bookings.
Velma Corcoran, Country Manager for South Africa at Airbnb, said the company was uniquely positioned to support the country and help communities and businesses recover through domestic travel.
“We know that South Africans love to travel locally, and it will be central to the recovery of tourism in the region. We are so pleased to be able to work with Wesgro and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal to respond innovatively to the challenges we face and to drive domestic tourism and economic benefit for Cape Town, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal,” said Corcoran.
Tapping into the demand for nearby trips, Airbnb is updating its platform to help guests rediscover the magic in their own backyards by making it easier to Go Near and book local travel. This includes updating the Airbnb website and app to highlight nearby getaways.
Airbnb, Wesgro and TKZN will collaborate in many unique ways to drive domestic tourism and support these destinations with their recovery efforts. The partnerships are based on three central pillars: Sharing travel trends and data on how South Africans are planning to travel as lockdown measures begin to ease, leveraging the Airbnb platform to shine a spotlight on featured regions and sharing tools to help both TKZN and Wesgro tap into online and in-person Experiences on Airbnb.
Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO, said the organisation is delighted to continue their work with Airbnb. “Now more than ever, we need to look at smart solutions to drive tourism throughout the province. Cape Town and the Western Cape remain superb destinations with unparalleled scenery and vibrant local culture. We look forward to using this partnership to ensure a swift recovery and to shine a spotlight on everything this unique region has to offer,” said Harris.
Phindile Makwakwa, the acting CEO of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal CEO, said Airbnb had been a catalyst for the growth of entrepreneurial tourism.
“The Zulu Kingdom has such a distinct fusion of raw natural beauty and cultural diversity and we are proud to be in partnership with Airbnb: the opportunities presented by this collaboration are very exciting,” she said.
The announcement closely follows Airbnb’s #GetBehindTheMask campaign, recently launched in partnership with the Western Cape Government’s Maskathon and Afrika Tikkun.
The initiative kicked off with an Online Experience on how to create face masks, alongside a South African call to action to donate 50 000 cloth face masks.