The benefits on tourism of the travel rebound are spreading across the Asia Pacific. In Southeast Asia, Airbnb analysis reveals the tourism surge is empowering locals to earn a living.
With people continuing to embrace flexible new approaches to travel and living, communities that have traditionally missed out in the past are increasingly well-positioned to secure a bigger slice of the tourism pie, according to new Airbnb report “Further Afield: Spreading the Benefits of the Travel Revolution.” Across the region, this has presented fresh opportunities for locals looking to supplement their income as they grapple with rising costs of living.
Across the Asia Pacific, Airbnb nights booked in non-urban areas have increased in South Korea (up more than 180%), India (up about 140%) and Australia (up about 60%) in Q2 2022 compared to Q2 2019. In Southeast Asia, searches for stays in Siquijor in the Philippines surged by more than 280 percent while searches for Marang in Malaysia almost doubled.
The typical earnings for non-urban Hosts increased correspondingly in the same period for a number of destinations. In Australia and South Korea, typical host earnings have more than doubled as travel returned in full force. In the Philippines, almost half of local Airbnb hosts surveyed said their earnings have helped them navigate rising costs of living, including housing, daily necessities and home improvement needs.
Not only are travelers eyeing destinations off the beaten path, they’re also looking to stay longer. Notably, nights booked for long-term stays (stays longer than 28 days) in non-urban areas approximately doubled in popular travel and remote working hotspot Thailand in Q2 2022, up from Q2 2019 prepandemic.
In Southeast Asia, a number of destinations outside major metropolitan hubs were popular among travelers on Airbnb for long-term stays in Q2 2022. Examples included:
- Dapa, Panglao, Dumaguete and Silang in the Philippines
- Ipoh, Kuah, Semenyih and Port Dickson in Malaysia
- Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Lanta and Krabi in Thailand
Mich Goh, Airbnb’s head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said: “More than two years since the start of the pandemic, we continue to see fundamental shifts in travel that are creating new opportunities for off-the-beaten-track communities. It’s incredibly exciting to see travelers so enthusiastic about exploring new destinations as well as the positive economic impact cascading to locals.
“The increasing popularity of Dapa, Panglao, Dumaguete and Silang reinforces the importance of the Department of Tourism’s plans to drive tourism development in the countryside and promote lesser-known destinations. We are committed to continuing to work together with governments and stakeholders to keep inspiring travelers to step off the beaten path and help ensure more communities can share in the benefits of tourism.”
In addition to encouraging travelers to explore further afield through innovative search tools such as Categories and I’m Flexible, Airbnb remains committed to partnering with governments and communities in Southeast Asia, including in the Philippines. The company has partnered with Thailand and Indonesia’s tourism authorities on a range of Live and Work Anywhere initiatives to attract global digital nomads and remote workers as part of broader efforts to drive inbound tourism as travel returns.
Readers can view the full report at https://news.airbnb.com/further-afield/.