Africa’s Growing Tourism Sector Fuelling Growth of International Companies Such as Airbnb and Uber

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Africa’s expanding tourism sector is stimulating the growth of international companies such as Uber, the famous ride hailing service, and Airbnb, a privately held global company headquartered in San Francisco that operates an online marketplace and hospitality service

According to a new report by leading research group, Euromonitor, the rise of experiential travel has favoured the growth of such companies in Africa. It has emerged that a strong travel demand, lacking hotel stock and a general absence of regulation, benefits short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb.

Airbnb aims to invest $1 million in Africa by 2020, to promote community-led tourism projects. According to the company, Africa is seeing some of the strongest growth in guest arrivals.

Egypt, which is entering a renewed state of stability, saw a growth in guest arrivals of 134% between 2017 and 2018, with further strong growth in Kenya (60%), South Africa (60%), Tanzania (53%) and Morocco (50%).

“Increasingly, Africa is not just seen as a destination, but also as a plethora of source markets. Local companies like Travelstart and Hotels.ng, are able to benefit from this growth by offering services in the local languages, having greater understanding of local norms and behaviours,” Euromonitor said in a recent report.

The report, titled ‘Megatrends Shaping the Future of Travel’, was released at an international trade show dubbed World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

WTM is touted as the world’s leading travel and tourism event.

“In a rapidly changing global environment, megatrend analysis is critical for companies seeking to drive sustainable growth and remain relevant as competition increases and new ideas disrupt entire industries,” commented Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel Research at Euromonitor International.

The new research reveals how the travel industry is developing within the fast-changing global economic and social environment.

Based on the data, the access economy, where goods and services are traded on the basis of access rather than ownership, is booming. Travel is a sector revolutionised by players such as Airbnb and Uber, yet the access economy has the potential to transform many more areas with flights as the next possible category. While companies like Voom offers helicopter rides booked through an Uber-style app, the city of Dubai is testing flying taxis and Wingly offers a booking platform where private pilots take passengers on trips via a carpooling style.

“Going hand in hand with these trends, travellers continue to look for ever greater personalisation and authentic experiences,” explained Wouter Geerts, Travel Research Consultant at Euromonitor International.

“As destinations become overcrowded and fast-paced lives are the new normal, expectations will focus on bespoke and off-the-beaten-track destinations. We expect the desire for greater personalisation to continue and grow throughout 2019,” Geerts concluded.

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