After 190pc booking surge, Airbnb hopes to boost domestic travel in Malaysia during RMCO

Malaysians have been eager to get out of their homes and travel since restrictions were lifted. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Malaysians have been eager to get out of their homes and travel since restrictions were lifted. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

PETALING JAYA, July 2 — Things are looking positive for the local tourism industry with domestic bookings increasing to pre-pandemic levels in Malaysia.

According to Airbnb’s internal booking data, as of June 29 this year, overall bookings by guests in Malaysia have increased by nearly 190 per cent month-over-month, as the easing of travel restrictions has seen locals eager to spend some time away from their homes.

With travel resuming, Airbnb Asia-Pacific regional director Kum Hong Siew said that he is optimistic that the online marketplace company will be a strong contributor in the tourism sector and local economic recovery.

“We are already seeing early positive signs of domestic travel getting ready to make a comeback, driven by locals booking holidays that are closer to home,” said Kum in a press release.

Local hotspots have been coming back to life since travel has been allowed. — Bernama pic
Local hotspots have been coming back to life since travel has been allowed. — Bernama pic

“Tourism is a key driver of economic growth in Malaysia and it will play an important role in the overall recovery of the economy.

“We are committed to working hand in hand with governments, tourist agencies, communities and key local stakeholders to help restore travel in a responsible way that economically benefits local citizens and small businesses.”

Kum added that he hopes to work in tandem with the government and industry players to promote tourism within the country, in line with the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia campaign.

He also said that Malaysians are keen for more “local, authentic and affordable” experiences, with booking data revealing that 64 per cent of bookings were made to non-urban destinations such as Cameron Highlands, Kuala Terengganu and Port Dickson.

Other top domestic destinations over the last 30 days include Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang.

A location like this one in Cameron Highlands has been among the 'local trip' ideas on Airbnb’s app. — Picture courtesy of Airbnb
A location like this one in Cameron Highlands has been among the 'local trip' ideas on Airbnb’s app. — Picture courtesy of Airbnb

Airbnb also stated that it will be making improvements and updates to its app and homepage, by featuring local trip ideas and highlighting nearby getaways, in their bid to make it easier for guests to book local travel — including last-minute bookings.

The company will also continue to encourage all hosts and guests to be responsible and follow the strict guidelines from local officials, if and when they choose to travel.

Last year, Airbnb’s host and guest community in Malaysia contributed RM3.7 billion in direct economic impact, with guests spending an overall of close to RM3.3 billion in total.

Globally, the company’s economic impact in 30 top markets rose by 17 per cent from the previous year, surmounting to US$117 billion (RM501.6 billion).

Recent Airbnb surveys also revealed that 33 per cent of Airbnb hosts in the country said that Airbnb income helped them to stay in their homes.

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