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Leaders to discuss how technology can help more people to benefit from tourism – Airbnb organises first ever Africa Travel Summit

Leaders to discuss how technology can help more people to benefit from tourism – Airbnb organises first ever Africa Travel Summit

Airbnb will host a maiden Africa Travel Summit as part of its US$1 million investment to boost community-led tourism projects in Africa.

The digital holiday swap service said the summit will convene over 170 Pan-African delegates to explore how technology and tourism can support greater economic and social empowerment and will take place at Guga S’Thebe in Langa near Cape Town from 11 to 13 September.

Last year Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs at Airbnb, announced that the home sharing company will invest US$1 million through 2020 to promote and support community-led tourism projects in Africa.

This commitment is part of Airbnb’s vision to empower communities through home sharing and to promote people-to-people tourism that benefits local families and their communities.

According to the organisers, at the summit there will be an inspiring line-up of speakers and panelists that will discuss the opportunities and challenges of tourism and technology.

Airbnb in a statement said discussion topics include: 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 fueled by innovation and technology.

Over 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.

“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,” Lehane said.

“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,” he added.

Speakers at the summit will include Co-founder of She Leads Africa, Afua Osei; Global strategic advisor and five-time published author in Tourism & Economic Development, Anita Mendiratta; Global Head of Public Policy and Communications, Airbnb, Chris Lehane; CEO of Thebe Tourism, Jerry Mabena; Senior Travel Specialist at The World Bank Group, Hermione Neville; General Manager of MEST Lagos Incubator, Neku Atawodi-Edun; Executive Director of KECOBAT, Taiko Lemayian; Country Manager, Airbnb, Velma Corcoran; and many more.

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.