Global online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnb has indicated that it expects to maintain and enhance the rapid growth it has enjoyed in Africa in the last twelve months. Forecasters are predicting that the company is set to double its customer base from 765,000 to 1.5m in the next year.
The comments were made by Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, who added that Africa was still a relatively 'under-penetrated' sector and disclosed that he expected his organization to enjoy continued success in the region. The number of people using Airbnb's online rental room service rose by a staggering 143%.
Airbnb's CEO said, "If you just look at 2017, it's going to double, you will have 1.5 million people at the end of this year. This would be the forecast for us, but this is literally just the beginning. Africa is still relatively under-penetrated - and it represents huge potential for us."
The charismatic CEO whose US company is headquartered in San Francisco, California, outlined the scale of potential for the organization in the continent by revealing that the company had 77,000 homes across Africa. However, in a region that's home to over a billion people - they could easily have 'hundreds of thousands' according to Chesky.
South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to adopt Airbnb - and is subsequently the top-ranked country in Africa in terms of listings and visitors, who mainly come from countries such as the UK, US, Germany and Holland. The top five cities in Africa are Cape Town, Marrakesh, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Casablanca, although listings are found in diverse locations from St Helena Island in the South Atlantic Ocean to Freetown in Sierra Leone, and even a smattering in Somalia.
Chesky concluded by saying that Africa was an 'incredibly exciting emerging market for travel'.