Airbnb and the Ministry of Interior’s Community Development Department (CDD) are expanding their partnership to promote travel to off-the-beaten-path stays and destinations.
Bangkok, Thailand- - Working together on their mutual goal to empower local communities and support a more equitable tourism recovery, Airbnb and the Ministry of Interior's Community Development Department (CDD) today launched the second phase of their joint destination marketing partnership titled ‘Meet Thailand’s Villages’, a Beyond Big Cities initiative.
The strategic collaboration focuses on driving travel interest and travel accommodation capacity in less visited, off-the-beaten-path destinations across Thailand. Firstly, both parties are actively working with local Thai entrepreneurs to host experiential stays in cities including Nakhon Ratchasima and Buriram. These new experiential stays offer guests an overnight local stay combined with unique experiences such as cooking local specialities, tea picking and learning to tie-dye fabrics with thousand-year-old Baray mud.
Secondly, to inspire Thai and international travellers to venture beyond the usual tourist hotspots, Airbnb and the CDD are also shining a light on unique stays hosted by local Thais across Airbnb’s Farm, Beachfront and Tropical Categories of stays. These listings are located across a variety of destinations including Chiang Rai, Chumphon, Mae Hong Son and Trat.
With a phased roll-out and almost 20 experiential stays expected to be onboarded by 2023, Airbnb and the Ministry of Interior, together with the CDD have launched a dedicated web page that will be promoted to domestic and international travellers.
This comes as a recent survey commissioned by Airbnb* in Thailand found that Thais are looking to host for additional income, especially as travel rebounds and travellers become increasingly flexible about when and where they travel:
- 80 percent of Thai respondents were looking for ways to offset rising costs of living.
- As travel returns, almost half of Thai homeowners polled have considered becoming a Host on Airbnb to take advantage of the renewed appetite for travel.
- Over a quarter (28 percent) say it is extremely important to them that they’re still able to continue finding ways to travel even as general costs of living rise, and that they are actively looking for ways to offset travel costs.
- 40 percent of Thai respondents said that they planned to travel in the next year, especially over long weekends.
- Almost two thirds (63 percent) said they were generally more flexible in terms of holiday type and time of travel.
- 29 percent said that destinations with unique styles of accommodation will influence their travel decisions.
Airbnb and the CDD have also designated prominent travel influencer and content creator Atirut Singhaamphon (Nut) as an official travel ambassador for the campaign. In his role, Nut will be showcasing his travels with Airbnb and the CDD across three different cities, including off-grid stays, hidden gems and experiences with the local community.
Earlier in September, Airbnb ran capacity-building training to help local communities navigate digital tourism, under the CDD’s ‘Reinforcement of Tourism Management for the Expansion of Tourism Industry Preparation’ program. Locals were taught how to prepare and promote their stays on Airbnb’s platform, enabling potential guests to better understand their product offerings. Next, the global platform plans to host a virtual sharing session with its local Thai Host community on the changing trends around community tourism, and how Hosts can better serve and empower their local communities.
"The Ministry of Interior and Airbnb have been collaborating for over four years and we appreciate that Airbnb sees the importance of community travel and Thailand's grassroots economy," said Somkid Chanthamaruek, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior. "We are working together to promote local communities to domestic and international travellers and empower them to showcase their unique stays and cultures, while creating new economic opportunities through tourism dispersal."
Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said, “Thailand has many destinations off the main tourist routes that are ripe for exploring, and we are seeing a growing appetite amongst Thai and international travellers for more conscious and authentic travel. The conversation around community travel is one that all industry players can be part of, and it is particularly timely as we work to rejuvenate the tourism sector. Secondary cities of Thailand have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, and it is key that we ensure that more local communities are able to benefit from the country's travel reopening efforts than before."
Dr. Jutamas Wisansing (Ph.D.), Assistant Professor in Tourism Management and Founder of Community Innovation Agency, commented, “It's essential for the future of Thailand's tourism that we engage more with local communities and travellers so that together we can improve our offerings. There's a clear trend of people wanting enriched travel experiences and Thailand’s local assets are well-positioned to co-create this. Public-private partnerships such as the one between Airbnb and the Ministry of Interior are a great engagement initiative, leading the way for a more sustainable distribution of economic benefits to the grassroots.”
Content creator and ‘Meet Thailand’s Villages’ travel ambassador Atirut Singhaamphon (Nut), shared, “This is a truly exciting campaign and I’m really excited to be working with Airbnb and the Community Development Department. While Thailand is famous around the world and attracts millions of tourists yearly, there are so many new, off-the-beaten-path places just waiting to be discovered. I’m looking forward to exploring them and engaging with the local communities, and I strongly encourage more Thais to do the same - to get out there and explore our country.”