Airbnb Africa Academy: Empowering individuals and emerging African entrepreneurs by helping them share homes and communities to a global community


About the Academy

As part of Airbnb’s support for a new generation of entrepreneurs, Airbnb has partnered with Open Africa and the Social Enterprise Academy to create the Airbnb Africa Academy, an initiative to encourage healthy tourism and entrepreneurship in rural and under-resourced communities across the continent. Through the Academy, local hosts and co-hosts are provided information and tools that they can use to create listings on Airbnb’s platform by utilising their spare room, entire home or creating a unique experience to further expand the role of local, healthy and inclusive opportunities in African tourism. The Africa Academy is part of Airbnb’s $1 million commitment to boost community-led tourism in Africa, and is supported by the World Bank Group.

The first sessions of the Airbnb Africa Academy took place in Johannesburg on July 31 and August 1, and in Cape Town on August 3-4 2018, working with 12 communities in Gauteng and the Western Cape. Fifty participants were interested in becoming hosts and co-hosts of Home and Experiences on Airbnb. The two-day sessions covered subjects including ways of becoming a tourism entrepreneur, evaluating the tourism potential in local communities, navigating the Airbnb platform, understanding guest expectations, and information on the standards that apply to Superhosts. Each participant was provided with the opportunity to experience the Airbnb platform firsthand, participating in an Experience and spending the night in a home listed on Airbnb.

Scaling the Academy

Airbnb will be sharing learnings about the Airbnb Africa Academy at the Africa Travel Summit this September. We will look to expand the Airbnb Africa Academy to new countries in Africa in 2019 working in partnership with community-based and grassroutes tourism organisations. If you are interested in partnering with Airbnb or finding out about future Airbnb Africa Academy sessions, please reach out to [email protected].

Academy Participant Testimonies

“We’re not saying to people come to the township and just leave; [we’re saying] come to the township and experience and do something.”Harry, Alexandra, Johannesburg 

“Airbnb gave me the opportunity to actually show people the real Soweto. Our history to us is not just history that you read . . . it’s part of who we are. It’s us.”Ntsiki , Soweto, Johannesburg

“We need to educate people, and I’m hoping that by doing this experience . . . the youth that are unemployed can realize that we have it within ourselves. You can make it.”Lindiwe, Soweto, Johannesburg

Hosting Toolkit

The toolkit is a  a step by step guide, designed as part of the Airbnb Africa Academy. It is to assist hosts and co-hosts in rural and township communities to understand the tourism opportunity in their community, how to get onto the Airbnb platform and what it takes to be a successful host. This is a useful tool for hosts as well as organisations that focus on community development and tourism training.

Download the toolkit in English

Airbnb is excited to share more learnings from the Africa Academy at the Africa Travel Summit, and we are looking to scale the programme by working with community-based and grassroots organisations in South Africa and Kenya, with plans for a potential expansion to two additional markets in Africa in 2019.