Things are looking up for the local tourism industry with more Malaysians travelling with interstate travel now permitted. New data from Airbnb show that following the announcement of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) on 9 June.
Based on Airbnb internal booking data as of 29 June 2020, the home-sharing platform saw a 190% increase month over month of overall bookings by guests. In the past month, 93% of the total bookings made on Airbnb were for domestic destinations.
“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 Airbnb, regional director for Asia-Pacific, Kum Hong Siew.
“This latest data reinforces our belief that travelers increasingly are looking for more local, authentic and affordable experiences. Tourism is a key driver of economic growth in Malaysia and it will play an important role in overall recovery,” he added.
Over the last month, recent booking data has shown that the top domestic destinations in Malaysia include cities like Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang. Airbnb shared that internal data as of 24 June 2020 showed at least 64% of its bookings were made to non-urban destinations like Cameron Highlands, Kuala Terengganu, Port Dickson and more.
With more Malaysians looking to travel, Airbnb said it will be updating its app and homepage to feature local trip ideas and highlight nearby getaways. It is doing so to make it easier for guests to book local trips, even last-minute ones.
Airbnb said it continues to encourage all hosts and guests to be responsible and follow guidelines from local officials if and when they choose to travel.
Last year, Airbnb’s hosts and guests in Malaysia contributed RM3.7 billion in direct economic impact. Guests spent close to RM3.3 billion in Malaysia. This included restaurants, shopping, transportation, groceries and entertainment.
Globally, Airbnb’s direct economic impact in their top 30 markets amounted to USD117 billion (about RM503.7 billion) in 2019, which is a 17% increase over the previous year.
At least 33% of Airbnb hosts in Malaysia said their income from the platform helped them stay in their homes.