Latest data highlights a surge in China visitor arrivals to Southeast Asia on Airbnb, and more dispersed travel amongst domestic travellers to off-the-beaten-path destinations
Kuala Lumpur, 13 July 2023 – Latest data from Airbnb reveals that 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.
Since the reopening of cross-border travel in China, new Airbnb data reveals Chinese travellers are increasingly considering a wider variety of destinations including Malaysia, which recorded more than 10x increases in guest searches on Airbnb year-on-year.
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.
Notably, Malaysia ranked among the top 10 most searched countries and regions this summer by Airbnb guests in China, coming in eighth. Other Asia Pacific countries on the list included Thailand, Japan, Korea and Australia.
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. Domestic nights booked on Airbnb surged by nearly 60% in Malaysia in 2022, up from 2019. In the same period, domestic nights booked on Airbnb grew by almost 45% in Indonesia and approximately 35% in Thailand.
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
Airbnb Hosts and guests are emerging as key drivers of economic activity in destinations and communities across Southeast Asia.
Since March 2020, more than 13,000 towns and cities globally received their first booking on Airbnb. New Airbnb data also shows that guests booking stays using Airbnb’s flexible search features are significantly less likely to stay in the most popular destinations on Airbnb, compared to those booking via traditional search – around 1 in 20 stays on Airbnb are booked using flexible search features.
In Kula Lumpur, flexible bookers are less likely to book the most popular district of Bukit Bintang (-9 percent) and more likely to stay outside of the city (+7 percent).
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.”
“Across Southeast Asia, Airbnb is helping disperse guests, income and tourism benefits beyond the usual hotspots to new and trending destinations. We see the challenges posed by mass tourism around the world, and are investing in solutions to help, while helping guests discover new communities and generating new income streams for locals.”