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Airbnb women hosts leading the way forward for Thailand’s digital tourism

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Wed, 03/13/2019 - 11:57
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The growth of women Experience Hosts in Thailand is one of the fastest growing demographics in Southeast Asia with 60% year-over-year growth.

BANGKOK, THAILAND – Airbnb celebrates the company’s global community of women who have found greater financial, professional, and social empowerment through entrepreneurship in digital tourism. In Thailand, Airbnb announced that women hosts earned a combined income of THB 2.8 billion in 2018, a 45% increase from the past year. The number of women hosts also grew by 22% in 2018.

Women hosts on Airbnb make up 53% of Airbnb’s host community in Thailand, where the typical annual income for women hosts is THB 78,000. The advent of technology has opened up multiple opportunities for female hospitality entrepreneurs who are passionate about driving a creative and meaningful tourism industry. 

The opportunities available on the Airbnb platform now go beyond home hosting to Airbnb Experiences -- unique, one-of-a-kind activities that are handcrafted and led by local experts showcasing a unique side of Thailand. The rapid growth of Airbnb Experiences in Thailand has enabled more women to become entrepreneurs by sharing their passions and skills. In Bangkok, women make up 60% of all Experience hosts on the platform.

Ms. Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia says, “We are thrilled to share that in 2018 alone, women around the world have earned THB 381 billion through the Airbnb platform, and represent more than half of the global Airbnb community. The women in Airbnb’s community are entrepreneurial and passionate, using Airbnb as a platform to earn additional income and showcase local tourism in a truly unique and authentic way.”

“This has expanded beyond urban centres to secondary cities and rural provinces in Thailand. From meeting Pranee, a home host in Saraburi, to hearing how Sa, an Experience host from the Karen Hill tribe in Chiang Mai, teaches tourists traditional weaving to provide financial support for her village, Airbnb is privileged to support women empowerment through our platform. We celebrate and uplift our community of women hosts around the world -- not just this month, but every day.”

Airbnb’s data also reflects the growing percentage of women hosts across both first and second-tier cities, where access to technology encourages more female participation in the tourism industry.

Market

Percent of Homes hosts that are women

Bangkok

53.7%

Chiang Mai

56.9%

Pattaya

50.7%

Phuket

50.8%

Chiang Rai

58.2%

Ayutthaya

52.1%

Buri Ram

53.98%

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), women make up more than 50% of the workforce in many countries’ tourism sector. Together with four other industry leaders in Thailand, Airbnb today reinforced its commitment and support for female hospitality entrepreneurs and the local Thai community during a panel discussion in Bangkok titled “Powered by Women: The Rise of Thailand’s Tourism”:

Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Executive Director of Tourism Products Department at the Tourism Authority of Thailand notes, “Women traveling in groups or alone is a growing visitor segment for Thailand. We are seeing more Thai and international female travelers exploring the country in a different and more sustainable way. They are traveling to new destinations and looking for unique and memorable experiences. I expect to see this segment grow both in terms of number of travelers but also in terms of their positive impact and interaction with local communities throughout the country.”

Dr. Jutamas Wisansing, Chairperson of Pacific Asia Travel Association: PATA (Thailand Chapter) and Executive Director of Perfect Link Consulting Group Co., Ltd. says, “As tourism in Thailand continues to grow rapidly, it is increasingly important to promote local tourism that is sustainable, as well as inclusive. Whether it is showcasing Thailand’s gastronomy scene to international travelers, or helping locals rediscover their own backyard through local arts and culture, I am heartened that women are stepping up as hospitality entrepreneurs and strengthening communities.”

Ms. Tatiya Uttarathiyang, Airbnb Homes and Experience Superhost, says, “I worked as a geophysicist at a local national oil company for 15 years. I was an Airbnb host since 2013 and enjoyed showcasing a side of Thailand that travelers wouldn’t otherwise know about. I am passionate about connecting with people and Airbnb has given me the economic empowerment and confidence to quit my traditional job and become a full time Airbnb host. I’ve never looked back since!”

Ms. Napassaporn Chumnarnsit, a dentist based in Hua Hin and the first Thai woman to summit Mount Everest in 2016, says, “As an avid traveller, I often travel and am mindful of the impact tourism has on cities. Beyond travelling to ecotourism destinations in a conscious way, I’m also passionate about supporting local businesses.”

New data shows that hosting with Airbnb is providing local women greater economic security and independence. By creating a seamless online platform that enables magical offline connections, Airbnb is digitising tourism for a more inclusive, sustainable and diverse way forward, beginning with its  country-first partnership with the Ministry of Interior’s Department of Local Administration (DLA). Since the partnership kicked off last year, Airbnb has collaborated with local officials, Airbnb Superhosts and Community Leaders to train and equip local hosts in Thailand with key digital and hospitality skills. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.