A successful start-up is helping South Africans earn thousands by offering creative, truly Mzansi-style experiences to tourists.
The Tastemakers Africa platform, which connects tourists with locals, was created by New York native Cheraé Robinson. She worked for an international NGO and travelled to various parts of Africa regularly.
"I met local influencers and tastemakers who invited me to experience their cities through their craft. I began sharing this on social media, and as I did, people wanted to travel with me," Robinson told travel publication AFAR.
She established Tastemakers Africa as a platform that “connects travellers to a vetted community of local insiders that host them on unique experiences”, Robinson told Business Insider South Africa.
The idea "is to give visitors the opportunity to connect to the city authentically through creatives and tourism entrepreneurs who are redefining the narrative on 'Africa' everyday. Tastemakers should feel like you have a cool, well-connected friend in every African city”, she says.
Tastemakers Africa is currently available in Ghana and South Africa.
The experiences look something like this: a Johannesburg interior designer takes visitors on a day of thrift shopping, ending with a rooftop dinner and wine tasting; or a Cape Town foodie photographer prepares dinner for guests, and then gives them a crash course in flat-lay photography (meticulously arranged items, photographed from above).
Depending on the type of work and its frequency, Tastemakers can stand to earn an annual income boost of up to R100,000, earning a 15% to 20% commission from each booking.
Currently, the service is offered in Cape Town and Johannesburg, but it will soon expand to Durban.
“A big goal of ours is for South Africans to use the Tastemakers Africa platform to also explore their own country. We’re looking to learn more about which destinations in the country are under explored but attractive to people locally and what we can do as a brand and a platform to expand access there," Robinson says.
Earlier this year, Booking.com, one of the world's largest travel e-commerce companies, named Tastemakers as one of its top-ten start-ups.
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