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Airbnb continues to disrupt Zimbabwe's traditional travel industry

By , Journalist
Zimbabwe , 19 Jan 2018

Airbnb continues to disrupt Zimbabwe's traditional travel industry

Airbnb has confirmed a sharp rise in the number of Zimbabwean accommodation listings, with 890 homes now available for booking.

The platform has continued to disrupt the country's traditional travel industry which is impacted by steep price hikes for accommodation services in areas including Harare and Victoria Falls.

According to Airbnb, "there are more homes available in Zimbabwe than in Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique".

Zimbabwe's internet penetration rate is understood to have increased to approximately 50%, providing a much-needed boost to local ecommerce.

However, travel industry experts have downplayed the impact that Airbnb is having on the largely established hotels in Zimbabwe.

Mlandeli Ndlela, a travel and safari expert with Sikiliza DMC said that accommodation applications such as Airbnb and (which also offers listings of cheaper accommodation options for Zimbabwean destinations) serve a different market compared to the larger hotels.

"That has not been an issue as it is only opening up new markets for budget travellers who prefer to use platforms such as Airbnb and," Ndlela said.

A spokesperson for Airbnb stated, "The number of guests staying in a home booked on Airbnb when they travel to Zimbabwe has doubled in the last year alone. Travellers to Zimbabwe that stay in an Airbnb listed homes come from these countries; Britain, United States, elsewhere in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the African Union.".

Other applications having an impact in Zimbabwe include WhatsApp and Facebook.

A local developer has also launched the Wangu mobile chat application that connects Zimbabweans across the world.

However, data from the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) showed in October last year that WhatsApp is the most popular internet app.

It accounts for about 44% of all mobile internet usage in the country while Facebook took up only 1%.

Mobile internet accounts for about 98% of all internet usage in the country.

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