Latest data from Airbnb reveals that Airbnb Hosts and guests are emerging as key drivers of economic activity in destinations and communities across Southeast Asia.
While the pandemic had caused unprecedented disruption to global tourism, Airbnb is seeing a strong rebound in both international and domestic guest arrivals across the region.
China guests are flocking to Southeast Asia – Thailand ranks the #1 most searched summer destination for China guests on Airbnb
Since the reopening of cross-border travel in China, Thailand has emerged as the top destination for Chinese travellers on Airbnb, ranking #1 on the list of most-searched countries and regions this summer by Airbnb guests in China.
This summer, the number of Chinese guests on Airbnb searching for early summer outbound stays (between July 1 and July 15) surged nearly sixfold compared to last year. About half of their searches for summer travel were for medium to long-term stays, spanning 7 days or longer.
Chinese travellers are also increasingly looking to visit a wider variety of destinations including Malaysia and the Philippines, both of which have recorded more than 10x increases in guest searches on Airbnb year-on-year.
Domestic tourism continues to grow across the region
As international travel continues to rebound across Southeast Asia, domestic travel remains extremely popular amongst local travellers with domestic nights booked on Airbnb surging by 35% in Thailand in 2022, up from 2019.
Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb’s General Manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said, “Domestic tourism has proved to be resilient in times of crisis and an option of a more immediate and positive economic impact to local economies. A weekend trip to a near destination to home is not only easier to plan, but also much more affordable. Airbnb has proven to be an option that can help support domestic tourism, by providing a greater variety of affordable accommodation in new destinations. Guests now have the ability to travel to many more places by using Airbnb.”
Spreading tourism to more new towns and cities
The challenges posed by mass tourism are clear and across Southeast Asia, Airbnb is helping disperse guests, income and tourism benefits beyond the usual hotspots to new and trending destinations.
In Thailand, Airbnb is working closely with the Ministry of Interior and the Community Development Department to encourage guests to travel off-the-beaten path through its ‘Meet Thailand’s Villages’ initiative, and with the Tourism Authority of Thailand on its ‘Green Newcomer’ and Rural Tourism Awards initiatives to help promote sustainable travel.
Airbnb guests stayed in over 100,000 different cities and towns globally last year, and since March 2020, more than 13,000 towns and cities globally received their first Airbnb booking. Also, the number of communities globally where guests stayed increased by over 25 percent in 2022 compared with five years ago, spreading tourism to new and different destinations.
Bajaj added, “Distributed travel is affordable, boosts local economies and local jobs, and immerses people in these communities – whereas too much travel to popular places concentrates tourism economically and geographically.”