Entrepreneurs in Khayelitsha are creating a vibrant tourist hub within the township. Airbnb rentals are proving extremely popular, and local businesses are riding the crest of a wave…
Airbnb is an online service that provides accommodation alternatives to hotels and guest lodges. It allows people to rent out their own homes to travellers, and Khayelitsha residents have embraced the technological revolution.
The six hosting facilities are celebrating the completion of a two-week Innovation and Hospitality programme that teaches owners how to market their property and provide exceptional service to their guests.
Maria Maile is one of the hosts in the township, and says her business has flourished ever since she first signed up for Airbnb:
“My business is my pride, and I want to inspire the women and young people of Khayelitsha. However, If we can get the youth involved, we can sustain tourism in our community. That is how we eliminate crime, and even look after our environment. Although, I want to share my knowledge. To die with knowledge is a waste.”
Two of the town’s entrepreneurs Buntu Matole and Ayanda Cuba founded About Brands Communities and Design concepts (ABCD). Their business offers tourists the chance to see the real side of the Western Cape’s township culture.
They offer the Hilltop Run excursion, which takes visitors on a 6km jog / cylcle ride through the community. You get an in-depth guide to Khayelitsha’s history and an authentic experience of life in the shanty town.
Airbnb’s Regional Market Consultant for Southern Africa is Velma Corcoran. She is convinced that this move can liberate the lives and personal economy of the local residents due to its accessibility:
“Through hosting on Airbnb, members of the Khayelitsha community can become part of the tourism economy. This will directly impact their lives but also benefits the wider community, local business and shops. Airbnb can help unlock diverse communities that weren’t as accessible to visitors before.”
Although Khayelitsha still wrestles with its reputation, it’s clear to see there are plenty of entrepreneurial minds helping the community rise above its circumstances.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, visited with Airbnb hosts in Khayelitsha on 12/09/2017. The visit formed part of Minister Winde’s programme for Tourism Month