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Airbnb: Return of travel in Southeast Asia presents big opportunities for local tourism

  • Balian Retreat, Bali, Indonesia
  • The Resthouse, Perhentian Island, Malaysia

In 2022, solo travel in Southeast Asia grew over 2.6x year-on-year, and group travel in the region more than tripled. Many travelers in Southeast Asia are also staying longer – in 2022, long term stays of over 28 days grew by more than 2.5x year-on-year. New regional survey shows 85 percent of Thais polled are optimistic about the travel rebound in Southeast Asia, and believe it will benefit their community and the broader national economy.

THAILAND – New data from Airbnb shows the return and evolution of travel in Southeast Asia is presenting fresh opportunities for communities across the region. Nights booked across Southeast Asia on Airbnb doubled in 2022, up from 2020, according to new internal data from the platform. This is an encouraging sign of ongoing recovery in the region, as travel continues to climb back to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Thailand was the #1 most visited country on Airbnb in Southeast Asia in 2022, while top cities in the region included:

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Pattaya, Thailand
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Phuket, Thailand

The United States also ranked as the #1 country of origin for international Airbnb guests visiting Southeast Asia in 2022, followed by Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and South Korea.

Intra-Southeast Asia travel remained popular with avid travelers visiting neighboring countries close by. Notably, Singaporeans flocked to Airbnb to book their getaways, with Singapore-Malaysia emerging as the top intra-Southeast Asia travel route on Airbnb, followed by Singapore-Thailand and Singapore-Indonesia.

Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the travel resurgence currently taking place across Southeast Asia – a region that has always been a popular for travelers the world over, with its tropical climate, delicious local cuisines, spectacular scenery and rich cultural heritage. Airbnb is committed to partnering with local governments and communities to support the region’s travel renaissance in a way that allows local people to access the socio-economic benefits of travel. We’re also focused on relentlessly innovating to help disperse travel and encourage it to return in a way that’s responsible, creates human connection and is economically empowering for locals.”

Airbnb is continually innovating to help disperse travel beyond familiar destinations, so that more communities can benefit from the socio-economic opportunities that tourism offers. Airbnb’s flexible search tools, such as Flexible Dates, are already making a difference on this front, with guests booking through a Flexible Date search on the platform in key cities including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Metro Manila often more likely to book a stay outside popular areas in the city.

Shifting travel trends across the region
  • Group travel is gaining momentum
    With a big focus from many travelers on connecting, and reconnecting, with loved ones, group travel in Southeast Asia more than tripled year-on-year in 2022. This comes as family travel on the platform increased 60 percent in 2022 globally compared to pre-pandemic, with more families booking Airbnb stays for their value and space.
  • Solo travel is on the rise
    Solo travel in the region also grew by more than 2.6x, up from the year prior.
  • Travelers are staying for longer
    Many travelers across Southeast Asia are staying for longer and more deeply engaging with local communities. In 2022, long term stays of over 28 days in the region grew by more than 2.5x year-on-year.
Regional and domestic travel is back, in a big way

In a new YouGov survey commissioned by Airbnb, data indicated that:

  • 85 percent of Thais polled were optimistic about Southeast Asia’s travel rebound, and believe that the travel resurgence will benefit local communities and the national economy.
  • 35 percent said they were excited to travel within the region more frequently in the future, after not being able to for so long.

When asked what they believe would add to the appeal of local destinations for international travelers, more than half of Thais polled pointed to:

  • Hospitable locals who are willing to make guests feel welcome and point out hidden gems
  • Accommodation with family-friendly amenities
  • An emphasis on local food and culture
  • Ease of access to off-the-beaten-path destinations
  • Availability of accommodation options at every price point

Ahead of major holidays and festivals throughout the region, there is strong travel momentum amongst Airbnb guests to travel within Southeast Asia. Guest searches for Songkran in Thailand increased more than 310 percent year-on-year, and guest searches for the March-April summer travel season in the Philippines surged almost 400 percent. This Ramadan, guest searches increased almost 600 percent in Malaysia, and over 500 percent in Indonesia.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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