Airbnb rentals boom across Africa

Visitors enjoy some summer sun on the beach in Rabat, Morocco, in July 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said on Tuesday (Oct 17) that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year - double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent.

The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg.

"It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP.

Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries.

The company announced Tuesday that it would invest US$1 million (S$1.3 million) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects".

"For many Africans, being able to turn their greatest expense - their home - into a source of additional revenue is good news," Lehane said.

"People create new economic opportunities for themselves."

Across the continent, South Africa is the most popular country for Airbnb rentals, followed by Morocco.

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