Airbnb, the end-to-end global travel platform, released new data highlighting Thailand as one of the top 5 global destinations for travellers from Mainland China this Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday — described by many as “the world’s largest annual human migration”.
The Chinese travel market is embracing a golden age of ‘consumption upgrading’ and the rise of the “experience economy”, such that Thailand becomes one of the top destinations for Chinese travellers all year round, and especially during peak festive periods like the CNY.
China continues to grow in importance as a market for Thailand’s tourism and the local host community. Key travel trends include:
- Growth and Diversity of Local Tourism. The number of guest arrivals made by Airbnb guests from China for travel during CNY increased 100% compared to last year. Bangkok is one of the top global cities with an increasing popularity of extended trips to secondary destinations such as Chon Buri, Hua Hin, Rayong, Saraburi and Ayutthaya.
- More Income for Locals. Welcoming more than 44,000 guests, local Airbnb hosts earned a total of THB 186 million in extra income. During this peak CNY travel season, the typical Airbnb host in Thailand earned more than THB 43,000 within the span of eight days.
- Millennials Continue to Choose Airbnb. More than 80% of bookings made by independent Chinese travelers on Airbnb for the 2019 CNY holiday were made by users born in the 1980s and 1990s. Millennials are one of the most powerful consumer demographics in the travel industry and there are more millenials in China than there are people in the United States.
- Travel With Family. Nearly 60% of reservations made by Chinese guests for CNY travel are for groups of three or more travelers.
- The Rise of the Experience Economy. Beyond just a place to stay, Airbnb sees a rise in popularity with Chinese travellers booking Airbnb Experiences in Thailand. Chinese travellers can connect with locals through cooking classes and biking tours in off-the-beaten track neighbourhoods, which are amongst the most booked activities.
Diversifying the Tourist Spendings to Thais and Local Neighbourhoods
With the Tourism Authority of Thailand anticipating an 8% increase in visitor numbers this year, this allows locals to be a part of the tourism ecosystem by allowing passionate local Airbnb hosts share about their culture with Chinese travellers.
Locals are increasingly seeing the benefits to hosting especially during peak travel seasons — Airbnb’s host community in Thailand earned a total of THB186 million in host income this CNY, which represents a 50% jump in earnings compared to CNY last year.
Tatiya, a geophysicist who is passionate about travel and meeting new people, decided to turn hosting with Airbnb into a full time career. She is now both an Airbnb Home and Experiences Host, and hosted two Chinese families during the CNY week.
Fu, Airbnb guest from Nanjing, China shares his positive feedback.
“Tatiya is friendly and welcoming. The listing is not the typical tourist hotspot, but near unique local neighbourhoods which provided a different travel experience. I also wished I stayed longer so I could take her cooking class.”
Jiaxuan, another guest, quips, “We enjoyed the breakfast she provided for us every morning, and her house was cosy and comfortable. We also had memorable conversations with Tatiya and learnt more about Thailand.”
Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, Mich Goh, said the positive numbers highlighted the growing importance of the local Airbnb community to Thailand’s tourism economy. “Known for their welcoming hospitality, passionate Thais have become the forefront of an important type of tourism that is people-driven, local, authentic and sustainable,” shared Goh. “Airbnb is focused on promoting a more healthy form of tourism that continuously empowers the local Thai host community and helps drive economic activity into communities and neighbourhoods that our hosts call home.”
Around the world, guests from China travel to 1,048 cities in 111 countries and regions during CNY. While traditional travel destinations like Japan, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Korea, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Russia, and France continued to receive Chinese travelers, the top five most popular destinations for travel outside of mainland China are:
- Hong Kong