The Airbnb Academy

Unlocking the power of tourism for all

Unlocking the power of tourism for all

The Airbnb Academy is a skills development program for women and youth in township and rural communities who are interested in tourism. The Academy gives them skills, practical tools and the support they need to use technology to access and succeed on the Airbnb platform as tourism entrepreneurs. The program is delivered in partnership with local organisations and destination marketing organisations which have included Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape Government, Africa Ignite and ABCD Concepts based in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape. The Academy was recognised in 2020 as best practice in Poverty Alleviation Through Tourism by the World Tourism Alliance, World Bank Group, and the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC).

Impact to date

225 individuals trained; 70% women
200K income earned by participants through Airbnb
30 communities involved

Meet the Academy graduates

Answers to common questions

What is the Airbnb Academy?

Our vision is a world in which everyone can access and benefit from the power of technology and tourism. The Airbnb Academy is a tourism development programme built by Airbnb, focused on giving underrepresented and under-resourced communities the tools and resources to participate in tourism through the Airbnb platform. The programme features an immersive training curriculum focused on what it takes to succeed on the Airbnb platform. The Academy has four phases built from Airbnb’s first-hand knowledge and insights, they include: participant recruitment, training, post training support, and community building.

The curriculum introduces tourism as a business opportunity, builds familiarity with the Airbnb online marketplace, supports participants in publishing a Home or Experience listing and builds meaningful connections between participants.

Upon completion of the Academy, participants are:

  • Confident using the Airbnb app and website;
  • Empowered to tell their personal story on a tech platform;
  • Published on the platform, with a Home or Experience listing that stands out;
  • Part of the Airbnb community and belong to a network of tourism entrepreneurs around the world.
Why the Airbnb Academy?

Post COVID-19, tourism recovery is likely to be uneven. Under-resourced communities were some of the first impacted and may be the last to recover from the pandemic. However, the flexibility and accessibility of Airbnb’s platform makes it easy for people across emerging markets to become tourism entrepreneurs and now more than ever, Airbnb will be a lifeline to many hosts and communities.

Unlike mass travel that bottles up the economics of tourism and takes money out of communities, Airbnb is a healthier form of tourism where hosts keep the vast majority - up to 97% - of the money paid by guests. Hosts set their own prices, and they benefit from reviews that help them create followings among the guest community.

What is the history behind the Airbnb Academy?

The Airbnb Academy first launched in 2017 in South Africa to help support training in hospitality and technology for residents from under-resourced communities and rural areas. Given its success, and as part of Airbnb’s USD $1million commitment to inclusive tourism in Africa, Airbnb expanded the programme to more underserved communities across South Africa and Kenya. More recently, the programme was expanded to include communities beyond Africa such as in Guyana and Argentina. Going forward, we are looking at ways to continue expanding the Academy to further our vision of a world in which everyone can access and benefit from the power of technology and tourism.

How can you partner with the Airbnb Academy?

We partner with grass-root organizations to deliver the Academy. We evaluate our partners based on four key criteria:

  • Proven track-record: a history of operating and delivering results in the community.

  • Aligned values: a community first approach, aligned with Airbnb’s values of belonging.

  • Robust training: an organization with experience in skills development and training with a focus on technology.

  • Tourism expertise: An organization that has experience in tourism development.

By working with our partner organizations, we identify a cohort of highly motivated individuals in under-resourced or underrepresented communities with high tourism potential. We give them the tools to build Homes and Experiences on Airbnb to become leading tourism entrepreneurs in their community.

Through Airbnb Academy, we open up economic opportunities for individuals and strive to meet the demand of 21st century travellers seeking more sustainable and impactful ways of traveling.

What does the Airbnb Academy offer partners?
  • Community assessment tools: guides to assess the tourism needs and opportunities of your target community.

  • Training/learning curriculum: guides for organizing and facilitating digital skills and Academy training in your community.

  • Discussion and groups: a regular online forum where partners can connect to share ideas, and inspire each other.

  • Academy team access: access to Airbnb teams who can answer questions and recommend helpful resources.

  • Feedback: opportunity to share learnings with Airbnb and provide input that can shape the programme.

Where has the Airbnb Academy been deployed?

To date, Airbnb has worked with partners to deploy the Academy in South Africa and Kenya.

We are now looking to expand the model into new markets to grow our impact.

Partners include Sustainable Travel and Tourism Association, Africa Ignite, Afrika Tikkun, Open Africa, World Bank Group.

Would you like to partner with us? Email us and let’s talk!

academy@airbnb.com

Our partners

Africa Ignite
Africa Ignite

The Airbnb Academy fits perfectly with our vision: to see rural communities with thriving enterprises and youth who are able to craft their own future and participate equally in this democratic society. The partnership continues to drive economic growth in some of KwaZulu-Natal’s deep rural communities and enables us to roll out rural development frameworks that are tested and replicable.

The Airbnb Academy fits perfectly with our vision: to see rural communities with thriving enterprises and youth who are able to craft their own future and participate equally in this democratic society. The partnership continues to drive economic growth in some of KwaZulu-Natal’s deep rural communities and enables us to roll out rural development frameworks that are tested and replicable.

Learn more
Africa Ignite
Africa Ignite

The Airbnb Academy fits perfectly with our vision: to see rural communities with thriving enterprises and youth who are able to craft their own future and participate equally in this democratic society. The partnership continues to drive economic growth in some of KwaZulu-Natal’s deep rural communities and enables us to roll out rural development frameworks that are tested and replicable.

The Airbnb Academy fits perfectly with our vision: to see rural communities with thriving enterprises and youth who are able to craft their own future and participate equally in this democratic society. The partnership continues to drive economic growth in some of KwaZulu-Natal’s deep rural communities and enables us to roll out rural development frameworks that are tested and replicable.

Learn more
Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda
Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda

In 2020 we partnered with the Airbnb Academy and local communities in Kilifi and Nairobi. The Academy’s approach closely aligns with our capacity building efforts to equip tourism entrepreneurs, particularly rural women and youth, with the skills and tools to succeed in the tourism industry. The partnership has helped us realise our goal of working towards a sustainable, inclusive tourism sector in Kenya.

In 2020 we partnered with the Airbnb Academy and local communities in Kilifi and Nairobi. The Academy’s approach closely aligns with our capacity building efforts to equip tourism entrepreneurs, particularly rural women and youth, with the skills and tools to succeed in the tourism industry. The partnership has helped us realise our goal of working towards a sustainable, inclusive tourism sector in Kenya.

Learn more
Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda
Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda

In 2020 we partnered with the Airbnb Academy and local communities in Kilifi and Nairobi. The Academy’s approach closely aligns with our capacity building efforts to equip tourism entrepreneurs, particularly rural women and youth, with the skills and tools to succeed in the tourism industry. The partnership has helped us realise our goal of working towards a sustainable, inclusive tourism sector in Kenya.

In 2020 we partnered with the Airbnb Academy and local communities in Kilifi and Nairobi. The Academy’s approach closely aligns with our capacity building efforts to equip tourism entrepreneurs, particularly rural women and youth, with the skills and tools to succeed in the tourism industry. The partnership has helped us realise our goal of working towards a sustainable, inclusive tourism sector in Kenya.

Learn more
ABCD Travel
ABCD Travel

Partnering with the Africa Academy has been a highlight. We have always worked at getting some of our peers to dream beyond their circumstances and through the Academy we were able to not only introduce people to the platform, but to walk with them on their journey. For those that took this opportunity and made the most of it, their lives will never be the same.

Partnering with the Africa Academy has been a highlight. We have always worked at getting some of our peers to dream beyond their circumstances and through the Academy we were able to not only introduce people to the platform, but to walk with them on their journey. For those that took this opportunity and made the most of it, their lives will never be the same.

Learn more
ABCD Travel
ABCD Travel

Partnering with the Africa Academy has been a highlight. We have always worked at getting some of our peers to dream beyond their circumstances and through the Academy we were able to not only introduce people to the platform, but to walk with them on their journey. For those that took this opportunity and made the most of it, their lives will never be the same.

Partnering with the Africa Academy has been a highlight. We have always worked at getting some of our peers to dream beyond their circumstances and through the Academy we were able to not only introduce people to the platform, but to walk with them on their journey. For those that took this opportunity and made the most of it, their lives will never be the same.

Learn more