New Airbnb data shows how tourism has dispersed after the pandemic, benefiting off-the-beaten-track rural communities in Thailand and across Southeast Asia

In parts of Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific, Airbnb saw an increase in non-city room nights booked in Q2 2022 compared to Q2 2019.

Bangkok, Thailand – As the travel recovery continues, the benefits of tourism are spreading across Asia-Pacific. In Southeast Asia, Airbnb reveals that the resurgence of domestic and inbound tourism is enabling locals to earn a living and make ends meet.

In Thailand, some of the lesser-known destinations that travelers explore include Koh Lanta, Trat, Pai and Cha-am*. Nationally, more than 70% of Thais surveyed plan to travel more frequently to rural destinations that are not currently popular with tourists, and more than two-thirds of respondents say it is important that they do not contribute to problems such as overtourism**.

As people continue to take flexible new approaches to travel and life, communities that have traditionally been overlooked in the past are increasingly positioned to secure a bigger slice of the tourism pie, according to Airbnb’s new report “Further Afield: Spreading the Benefits of the Travel Revolution”. Across the region, this has provided new opportunities for locals looking to supplement their incomes as they grapple with the rise in Cost of life.

Across the Asia-Pacific region, Airbnb nights booked in non-urban areas and typical non-urban Host earnings have increased. Travelers aren’t just looking to off-the-beaten-path destinations, they’re also looking to stay longer. Notably, nights booked for long-term stays (stays longer than 28 days) in non-urban areas roughly doubled in popular travel and remote work hotspots in Thailand in the second quarter of 2022, up from the second quarter of 2019 before the pandemic.

In Southeast Asia, a number of destinations outside of major metropolitan hubs were popular among travelers on Airbnb for long-term stays in Q2 2022. Here are some examples:

  • Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Lanta and Krabi in Thailand
  • Ipoh, Kuah, Semenyih and Port Dickson in Malaysia
  • Dapa, Panglao, Dumaguete and Silang in the Philippines

Mich GohAirbnb’s head of public policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said: “More than two years into the pandemic, we continue to see fundamental shifts in travel that are creating new opportunities for lesser-known and off-the-beaten-track communities. It’s incredibly exciting to see travelers so excited to explore new destinations, as well as the positive economic impact that trickles down to locals.

“This continued dispersion of travel allows locals to diversify their income through accommodation and build their financial resilience in the face of the rising cost of living. We are committed to continuing to work with governments and stakeholders to continue to inspire travelers to think outside the box and ensure that more communities can share in the benefits of tourism.

In addition to encouraging travelers to explore further through innovative search tools like Categories and I’m Flexible, Airbnb remains committed to partnering with governments and communities in Southeast Asia. The company is partnering with Thailand’s Tourism Authority of Thailand and Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy on a series of “Living and Working Anywhere” initiatives to attract global digital nomads and workers remotely, as part of wider efforts to boost inbound tourism as travel returns. .

*Based on Airbnb internal data on searches for stays in Thailand by international and domestic travelers as of July 2022.
**”Rebuilding Asia-Pacific Tourism: A More Conscious Travel?” is a report commissioned by Airbnb and produced by Economist Impact.

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