African tourism is moving away from traditional safaris and aiming for real-life experiences

Published on : Monday, November 6, 2017

indexTravel industry leaders are of the opinion that African tourism is moving away from traditional safaris and group tours and looking more for “experiences.”


Internet-based home-sharing service Airbnb is just one of several businesses competing for the African tourism market. Chris Lehane, the head of global policy at Airbnb said that the service has grown in the past year. It sold two million bookings in Africa this year.


In Nairobi, Kenya, for example, people can pay $65 to make a short film with a local director. South Africa’s Western Cape area is popular with tourists. For about $100, someone going there can take a guided bicycle tour, go to a wine-tasting event, or attend a class in jewellery-making.


Lehane said, “Fifty-six percent of travellers are millennials. They’re looking for real, authentic experiences.”


Lehane has high hopes for African tourism. For example, in the past two years, Mexico City has grown quickly as a popular stop for travellers after not being one for years.

Lehane said, “And, by the way, after not being one for some of the same questions that people will raise about places in Africa. But it exploded because of the art scene, food scene, history…”


Lehane says Airbnb is investing $1 million to build tourism projects in poorer neighbourhoods, beginning in Cape Town, South Africa. The local communities will lead the projects. Tastemakers Africa tour hosts are already all local people.


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