Airbnb doubles down on Malaysia with government partnerships

Airbnb is collaborating with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) to drive inclusive, sustainable development of tourism in Malaysia through healthy travel and hospitality entrepreneurship.

The partnership with MDEC focuses on promoting digital inclusion and empowering local hospitality entrepreneurs in Malaysia, while building capacity in both homes and experiences throughout the country. Airbnb launched the partnership in Penang via an Airbnb Experiences training workshop for local guides who currently provide personalised trips for foreign and domestic tourists. The workshop module consists of best practices from the Airbnb Experiences team and tips to creatively leverage digital means such as Airbnb’s global platform for tourism promotion.

Meanwhile, Airbnb's collaboration with MPC sees the company sharing relevant data and best practices to inform recommendations on short-term accommodation policy in Malaysia. Through this tie-up, Airbnb will assist MPC in shaping national policy plans related to the development of Malaysia’s tourism industry and infrastructure, as well as local communities.

Airbnb's head of public policy for Southeast Asia, Mich Goh, said the company is committed to collaborating with governments around the world to drive healthy, responsible travel while empowering local hospitality entrepreneurs.

“Our partnerships will enable Airbnb’s global, people-powered platform to continue to spotlight Malaysian tourism on the global stage and draw more international tourists to Malaysia as their travel destination of choice, while supporting the growth of hospitality entrepreneurs,” Goh added.

Airbnb saw two million guests in Malaysia in the past twelve months, a 99% year-on-year (yoy) growth, making it the fastest growing market for the company in Southeast Asia. The number of listings in Malaysia also increased by about 60% yoy to 44,000. Last year, Malaysia welcomed over 1.5 million Airbnb guests, representing a 137% yoy growth in guest arrivals. According to the company, the strong local growth reflects the increasing popularity of Malaysia as a tourist destination on the global platform.

In an attempt to encourage a love of reading and the idea that books enable people to travel to a different world, Airbnb tied up with Malaysian bookstore BookXcess in September to transform its new outlet at Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya, into an exclusive bedroom for a sleepover. It currently works with Text100 Malaysia.

To drive local, authentic and sustainable tourism in countries and cities worldwide, Airbnb also launched its Global Office of Healthy Tourism, and aims to form a new Tourism Advisory Board comprising travel industry leaders across the globe. It is also doubling down on Asia Pacific with a US$2 million investment through to 2020 to support and promote innovative and inclusive tourism projects throughout the region.

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