Airbnb and Wesgro to harness share economy for Western Cape with new agreement

2017-10-16 10:01 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - Wesgro has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbnb to partner on various initiatives to position Cape Town and the Western Cape as the leading destination on the continent for "innovation in the new economy".

Kickstarting the MoU is a think tank on the sharing economy to be held by Wesgro on Friday, 20 October. The event expects to bring together a number of representatives from various sectors, cities, provinces and national government, as well as industry stakeholders and international and local experts.

Wesgro says the aim of the conference is to explore the shift from the old to the new economy in the Western Cape and to discuss how businesses can adapt and coexist with new entrants like Airbnb.

SEE: Western Cape tourism doing well despite national economic decline

The agency is focused on ensuring that the province can adapt to the changing economic landscape by harnessing the shared economy in order to boost jobs and economic opportunities.

“Airbnb has been a huge market innovator globally, which provides a great opportunity for the Cape. Innovative technology platforms like Airbnb will allow businesses in Cape Town and the Western Cape to gain greater access to global visitors and, if harnessed correctly, can help promote travel to all areas of the Western Cape region,” says Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro.

“I believe that our partnership with Airbnb can boost economic inclusion in the province and I am confident that the MoU that was signed last week is going to have a positive impact.”

The think tank, in addition to the sharing economy, will also see Wesgro and Airbnb partner with regions across the Western Cape to promote and build accommodation capacity around regional events.

The initiative aims to provide capacity in areas that lack sufficient accommodation.

ALSO SEE: Cape's water crisis won't stem international travel growth

'Airbnb community upliftment in Africa'

Looking to further community upliftment in Africa, Airbnb will also be launching a new initiative to empowe locals through its home-sharing club, starting in the township of Khayelitsha, aimed at helping drive sustainable tourism as these new entrants enter the industry.

According to the company, the typical host on Airbnb in SA shares their home for 16 days a year and earns an additional R28,000 a year, half of the hosts in SA use the income from hosting on Airbnb to help them afford to stay in their homes.

The launch of the 'Airbnb Homesharing Club in Khayelitsha' will take place on 18 October, where it will highlight its travel and tourism initiatives in these areas that are bustling with activity and entrepreneurial individuals  that are psyched to engage with both local and international tourists. 

SEE: Township Tourism: Why SA should value and invest in places like Khayelitsha

The company says the home-sharing training club is likely to continue to democratize tourism on the continent as it empowers communities to have a piece of the pie.

"Airbnb is empowering people and communities that have not previously benefited from tourism. Through the Airbnb platform, people can finally gain access to the tourism industry, earn additional income and showcase the best of their community to guests from around the world," says Velma Corcoran, country manager SA at Airbnb.

ALSO SEE: WATCH: 6 stories from Khayelitsha that will make it your favourite Cape Town spot

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