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Velma Corcoran, the regional lead for Middle East Africa at Airbnb, wrote to SA Tourism policymakers on their vision to operate in South Africa and its desire to collaborate with South African stakeholders and tourism players.
Airbnb has already partnered with tourism organisations including Wesgro, Western Cape Government, Tourism Kwa-Zulu Natal and SA Tourism to promote new ways for South Africans to explore the country.
In the letter, Corcoran said Airbnb was committed to “supporting a simple, online national registration system” and “giving governments data to enforce proportionate regulation” that offers “transparency to communities, and empowering local tourism entrepreneurs to grow their businesses”.
They aim to break down barriers to becoming a tourism entrepreneur, grow tourism outside of traditional hotspots, work in partnership and prioritise safe travel.
“We need to drive a genuinely inclusive tourism recovery by breaking down the barriers to becoming a tourism entrepreneur. We know from the hundreds of agreements Airbnb has signed with authorities around the world and the wide ranging system of rules that have been introduced, that good rules not only benefit Hosts who list their properties on Airbnb, but also their communities.
“That’s why we have always led calls for fair rules. We are setting out our support for the introduction of a nationwide registration system that will enable entrepreneurship and support a diverse tourism economy,” said Corcoran.
She said they want tourism to grow beyond the traditional hotspots.
“Airbnb is seeing major shifts in the way we travel, with people embracing local, affordable travel to connect with family. We want to support this growing demand for domestic travel.”
According to Corcoran, domestic travel has grown to 70% of bookings on Airbnb in South Africa in March 2021, up from 40% in March 2020.
Airbnb is also working alongside the South African Revenue Service and has built a Responsible Hosting page and dedicated tax guide for Hosts in partnership with local firm, Tax Tim.
Read the full letter here.