Africa Travel Summit FAQs

What is the Summit about?

Traveller arrivals in emerging destinations are expected to rise at twice the rate of arrivals in advanced economies through the end of the next decade. This growth presents a unique opportunity to look at how we can craft a more sustainable approach to tourism and work across sectors to ensure this growth is healthy and inclusive by being available to communities and populations that traditionally have been unable to fully benefit from tourism. The Summit will bring together thought leaders across Africa and across different sectors to discuss the role of technology can have in helping drive a more sustainable and inclusive tourism in emerging markets.  

Who is putting the Summit together?

Airbnb will be working with a number of partners to bring the Summit to life, including the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi).

Who is Airbnb?

Founded in August 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone or tablet. Airbnb’s people-to-people platform represents a different model of capitalism. We seek to be the platform that leads when it comes to creating a bridge between the old and the new, the 20th century and the 21st century, hierarchical brands and community-based brands. With 97 percent of the price of listings going into the pockets of hosts, Airbnb allows homeowners to generate significant income. Women hosts have outnumbered men hosts globally and have cumulatively earned over $10 billion through Airbnb’s platform. Growth in Airbnb listings outside city limits is outpacing its growth within cities, often nearly or actually doubling year-over-year, and helping to revitalise rural communities around the world.

What’s the difference between the Inclusive Tourism Exchange and the Airbnb Africa Academy?

They will both take place in the same week under the banner of the Africa Travel Summit. The Inclusive Tourism Exchange will give African thought leaders (government, tourism boards, development agencies, technology companies and incubators) a platform to share best practice, exchange ideas and to co-create a vision for how technology can best be used for inclusive and sustainable tourism growth, ultimately resulting in healthy tourism. The Airbnb Africa Academy is a program, targeted at informing grassroots innovators, tech influencers, NGOs, NPOs and ecosystem enablers that are interested in bringing the Airbnb model to their communities.

Can applicants just apply to be part of either the Tourism Exchange or the Airbnb Africa Academy?

Yes, although we recommend that all applicants invited to attend the Airbnb Africa Academy also participate in the Tourism Exchange to contribute to the broader debate.

How much will I need to budget for the entrance ticket?

Attendance is free and by invitation only.  

Who is selecting attendees?

Airbnb will work with our partners to select attendees. Selection will be at Airbnb’s discretion based on number of seats available at the Summit and the quality and relevance of the submitted applications. The Summit aims to bring together representatives from across the continent and across sectors.

Who should attend the summit?

African inclusive tourism, economic development, and technology and innovation thought leaders will be invited to attend the Inclusive Tourism Exchange, as well African Public Sector Tourism officials, tourism boards, development agencies, and destination marketing organisations. Social entrepreneurs in tourism, grassroots innovators, innovation and technology incubators, NGOs, NPOs and other African community ecosystem enablers will be invited to attend both the Inclusive Tourism Exchange and the Airbnb Africa Academy.

When will applicants be notified whether they have been invited to attend the Summit?

Successful applicants will be notified in July 2018.

Who is selecting speakers?

Airbnb will work with our partners to build a programme around relevant topics, and looks forward to reviewing the topics brought forth by Summit applicants.

What is the difference between an applicant and a speaker?

Applicants will attend the summit and take part in either the Inclusive Tourism Exchange, or the Airbnb Africa Academy, or both. Speakers will give talks, share inspiring case studies, host workshops, etc. Both attendees and speakers must first apply to attend.

When will the programme and dates be announced?

The preliminary programme will be announced in May 2018. It will be published on this website and updated regularly.

Does the Summit cover airfare and travel costs?

The Summit will not be able to support airfare and travel cost for attendees.

Does Airbnb cover accommodation costs?

The Summit will look to support accommodation to be booked through the Airbnb platform on a case by case basis. Applicants can let Summit organisers know if they need accommodation support when they receive their official invitation letter in July 2018.

What will happen after the Summit?

Airbnb and Summit Partners will publish a report summarising learnings and laying out next steps for driving forward a technology-enabled sustainable tourism for region.

I would like to propose a workshop rather than a formal presentation, is this ok?

Definitely, Airbnb encourages innovation and the whole idea is to have an engaging discussion, rather than a very formal conference event. We welcome innovative workshop ideas, best practice case study storytelling, more traditional presentations, and out of the box thinking that can further the inclusive tourism conversation.

What other attractions are there in Cape Town?

Cape Town, South Africa, is a world-leading travel destination. It is known for its creative arts, pristine natural assets, gourmet foods, diverse culture, and bustling nightlife. Table Mountain, around which the city has evolved, is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and many other natural and historical sights beckon travellers. It is also one of two cities on the continent where Airbnb has launched experiences. You can check them out here.

Why is this event taking place in Cape Town?

Cape Town is not only a leading tourist destination, but also one of the top technology and startup hubs in Africa. Cape Town is also home to one of the leading Business Schools on the continent, the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, as well as to the Bertha Centre, the first academic centre in Africa dedicated to advancing social innovation and entrepreneurship. South Africa is seen by many as the gateway to Africa, and, in this sense, it is a fitting location for this inaugural Africa event.

What’s Airbnb’s interest in sustainable tourism?

At Airbnb, we believe that technology-enabled, people-to-people home sharing promotes healthy tourismtourism that benefits the hosts who share their homes, the guests who are seeking authentic experiences, and the local residents whose cultures, customs and economies are respected, observed and supported. To expand engagement in healthy tourism, we are constantly searching for new ways to bring the benefits of our platform to more communities. At the same time, development actors are increasingly seeking to engage the private sector to help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

As tourism in emerging destinations increases, the Airbnb platform is helping to ensure this growth is healthy and inclusive by being available to communities and populations that traditionally have been unable to fully benefit from tourism. Airbnb helps open these communities to guests through authentic and affordable travel.

Nowhere in the world is this more true than in Africa. Today, the Airbnb platform in Africa is empowering a far more diverse range of places and people, well beyond typical hotel districts and the traditional hospitality industry, to welcome guests, create new opportunities, and establish pathways to economic stability for families.

You can learn more about Airbnb’s host empowerment programme here.