Airbnb sees domestic travel surges, rising almost 190% month-on-month

by BERNAMA/ pic by AFP

GLOBAL online marketplace provider for accommodation Airbnb has seen a surge in domestic travel in Malaysia, increasing by almost 190 per cent month-on-month.

In a statement today, it said in the past 30 days, 93 per cent of the total bookings made on Airbnb were for domestic destinations.

“This follows closely with the announcement of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) and lifting of travel restrictions around the country, which has seen attention turning towards domestic tourism as a key driver for recovery in the sector.

“While the travel industry has been significantly disrupted by COVID-19, internal Airbnb data shows positive signs that travel is beginning to bounce back, led by trends that will shape travel in the weeks and months to come,”  it said.

Based on recent booking data, the top domestic destinations over the last 30 days in Malaysia, include Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang.

Guests are also satisfying their wanderlust with travel to non-urban three destinations, such as Cameron Highlands, Kuala Terengganu, Port Dickson and more, comprising almost 64 per cent of bookings.

Even in a world with reduced travel, Airbnb has the potential to generate billions of dollars for local economies, as one of the unique aspects of Airbnb’s host and guest community keeps economic benefits locally.

In 2019, Airbnb’s direct economic impact in 30 top markets was US$117 billion, a 17-per cent increase over 2018.

Regional director (Asia-Pacific) Kum Hong Siew said Airbnb is already seeing early positive signs of domestic travel getting ready to make a comeback, driven by locals booking holidays that are closer to home.

“We are committed to working hand in hand with governments, tourist agencies, communities and other key local stakeholders in Malaysia to help restore travel in a responsible way that economically benefits local citizens and small businesses, paving the way towards tourism’s much-needed recovery,” he said.