Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky visited Johannesburg for the first time this week to launch Airbnb’s platform officially in South Africa, and announce the company’s plans to accelerate its growth in the country, its largest market on the continent.
He also announced that Airbnb had appointed Nicola D’Elia as General Manager for the region. Previously, Nicola was responsible for Facebook’s growth and partnerships in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. D’Elia will build out a team to accelerate Airbnb’s growth in Africa and the Middle East.
“South Africa is an incredibly beautiful and diverse country, with so much to offer visitors,” Chesky said. “We have a vibrant and welcoming community here, which we look forward to expanding so that even more visitors can benefit from the unique and local experiences our hosts provide.”
Some notable statistics reflecting Airbnb’s growth in the country over the last 12 months include:
· South Africa is currently the largest market for Airbnb in Africa with 9,400 homes listed, an increase of 138% in a year.
· South Africa is becoming an increasingly popular global destination, with the number of people staying in places booked through Airbnb in South Africa increasing by a massive 257%.
· South Africans are embracing the service as well, with those using Airbnb to travel increasing by 163%.
· While most South Africans that have used Airbnb have traveled within the country, the most popular international destinations include the US, Italy, France and the UK.
· Across Africa, two of the five largest markets for Airbnb are in South Africa, namely Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company, is an online marketplace that allows travellers to connect with people who have spare space in their homes. For travellers, the chance to book and stay in someone’s home offers the chance to experience a destination like a local. For homeowners, Airbnb offers the potential to meet and host people from all around the world, as well as making some valuable extra income.
Founded in San Francisco in 2008, there are now more than 1.5 million homes available to book through Airbnb worldwide and more than 45 million people have travelled with the service globally. This summer, on a peak night, close to one million people will be staying in an Airbnb worldwide.
Prior to traveling to Johannesburg, Brian Chesky attended the Global Entrepreneurial Summit (GES 2015) in Nairobi alongside President Obama. As a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE), Brian Chesky is one of a number of US business leaders committed to helping to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs around the world. At GES 2015, he met with entrepreneurs from around the world and explored the sharing economy’s impact and expansion throughout Africa.