As part of its $1m investment to boost community-led tourism projects in Africa, Airbnb has committed to organising its first Africa Travel Summit to take place from 11 to 13 September at Guga S’Thebe in Langa. The Summit will explore how technology and tourism can support greater economic and social empowerment through home sharing and the promotion of people-to-people tourism that benefits local families and their communities across the continent.


Airbnb will convene a lineup of speakers and panellists that will discuss the opportunities and challenges of tourism and technology with about 170 delegates from all over Africa. What are the real drivers of change? How can the economic benefits of tourism be brought to small businesses and local residents in Africa?


Discussion topics comprise:

● Tourism for All: A scene-setting discussion on the potential of innovation and technology to help tourism deliver economic empowerment in communities across Africa

● Telling the Africa Story: The role of the media in shaping Africa’s narrative: A discussion with travel writers, bloggers and journalists on how media can help in getting people off the beaten track and support underserved communities

● Financing as an enabler for technology and tourism development: A discussion facilitated by the World Bank Group on innovations in flexible financing that can help more people and SMEs access financing for their innovations

● Resilient Tourism in times of Crisis: Cape Town is facing its worst drought in over 100 years. Delve into an in-depth discussion on building sustainable, resilient tourism fuelled by innovation and technology


Over the three days, delegates will share expertise and ideas on what tourism can do to empower more people in Africa, hear from innovators who are helping democratise tourism in Africa, and learn about the Airbnb Africa Academy – Airbnb’s newest programme to connect underserved communities to tourism in South Africa through technology.

Airbnb global head of public policy and public affairs, Chris Lehane says: “At Airbnb, we believe in democratising the benefits of tourism as travel becomes an increasingly bigger part of the global economy. With Africa poised to become an even bigger player in global travel, it is critical that everyone in the travel sector work together to make sure the benefits go to local families and communities.”

“By hosting the Africa Travel Summit, we will bring together the leading thinkers from what is an incredibly diverse continent to discuss how we can leverage technology and innovation to empower more local families and their communities to benefit from the economics of African travel.” 

“It’s an honour for us to host the first Africa Travel Summit right here in the vibrant neighbourhood of Langa, Cape Town. We are thrilled that key decision and policy makers from across Africa will be joining us for this three-day event that we are certain will both inspire and ignite much-needed debate around tourism in Africa,” adds Velma Corcoran, country manager for Airbnb in South Africa.

This article was first published in Bizcommunity on 23 August 2018.