Skip to main content

Airbnb has high hopes for Africa in 2017, seeking to double its customer base

Looking to go to Africa this year? You and Airbnb both. On Friday, the vacation rental company’s CEO, Brian Chesky, told Reuters of his plans to “maintain its rapid growth in Africa this year,” as well as an ambitious new customer target of 1.5 million — double its current rate.

As it stands, the number of people using Airbnb in Africa already increased 143 percent in 2016; about 765,000 people used the service last year, Nicola D’Elia, the firm’s Africa and Middle East chief noted. “If you just look at 2017, it’s going to double, you will have 1.5 million people at the end of this year,” she added.

Chesky echoed these sentiments, noting that the company fully expects to increase their African customer base by another 100 percent in 2017. “Certainly that would be the forecast,” he said in an interview in Cape Town. “This is literally just the beginning. It (Africa) is still relatively under-penetrated.”

Africa is clearly a major continent for Airbnb to target, as it boasts a population of more than a billion people. Currently, the company has about 77,000 homes listed in the continent, a small proportion of its 3 million across the world, but Chesky hopes this number will soon balloon to “hundreds of thousands.” After all, the 77,000-home figure Airbnb hit in 2016 is already a 95 percent increase from 2015.

At present, South Africa is the most popular country in Africa when it comes to Airbnb listings and visitors — many tourists from the U.S., Germany, the U.K., and the Netherlands opt to stay in local homes rather than hotels. Airbnb’s top cities in Africa are Cape Town, Marrakesh, Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Casablanca, but visitors may be surprised to find listings all over the continent, including some in St Helena island, Freetown in Sierra Leone, and Somalia.

In any case, Chesky certainly has high hopes for Airbnb in Africa, calling the continent “an incredibly exciting emerging market for travel.”

Editors' Recommendations

‘Truck Hotel’ is an amazing double-decker pad for surfers
truck surf hotel mercedes actros

Welcome to the Truck Surf Hotel

The trouble with hotel rooms is that they're so darn stationary. Once booked, you're locked into the location for the entirety of your stay, with no chance of venturing to places far beyond. Of course, you could always travel in a camper van, but the experience can feel isolating, and you also have the hassle of driving, with the added stress of trying to navigate new road systems if you're overseas.

Read more
Skyscanner travel app now lets you book train tickets, too
skyscanner train tickets uk

Skyscanner already has a place among Digital Trends' collection of awesome travel apps thanks to its ability to surface the most affordable flights, hotels, and rental cars, as well as its ease of use.

Anyone using the app in the U.K. can now tap it for train travel, too. The latest feature, currently for iPhone and iPad but coming soon for Android devices, lets you search for and book rail tickets for trips across the U.K., with no hidden fees added during transactions. To be clear, it's currently not possible to book Eurostar train tickets from London to Paris, Brussels, and beyond, though hopefully that's something the team is looking to add.

Read more
Airbnb takes on and Expedia as it tries to woo hotels and B&Bs


Airbnb is making a direct pitch to boutique hotels and bed-and-breakfast (B&B) owners as it attempts to broaden the appeal of its own service and draw business away from travel booking sites such as and Expedia.

Read more