Tourism disperses to rural areas — Airbnb

Recent Airbnb data showed how tourism has dispersed after a two-year pandemic hiatus, which benefited rural off-the-beaten-path communities in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Across parts of Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific, Airbnb recorded an increase in non-urban nights booked in the second quarter when compared with 2019 or before the global health scare.

In the Philippines, travel interest in destinations outside major cities has increased with guest searches for Siquijor surging over 280 percent.

Tourism dispersal is creating new economic opportunities for more people in emerging destinations as they look for ways to combat the rising costs of living.

Airbnb report indicated that the resurgence in domestic and inbound tourism is empowering locals to earn a living and make ends meet.

With people continuing to embrace flexible new approaches to travel and living, communities that have traditionally missed out in the past are increasingly well-positioned to secure a bigger slice of the tourism pie, according to the report “Further Afield: Spreading the Benefits of the Travel Revolution.”

Across the region, this has presented fresh opportunities for locals looking to supplement their income as they grapple with rising costs of living.

Across the Asia Pacific, Airbnb nights booked in non-urban areas have increased in South Korea (up more than 180 percent ), India (up about 140 percent) and Australia (up about 60 percent) in the second quarter as compared to 2019.

In Southeast Asia, searches for stays in Siquijor in the Philippines surged by more than 280 percent while searches for Marang in Malaysia almost doubled.

Earnings growing

The typical earnings for non-urban hosts increased correspondingly in the same period for several destinations.

In Australia and South Korea, typical host earnings have more than doubled as travel returned in full force. In the Philippines, almost half of local Airbnb hosts surveyed said their earnings have helped them navigate rising costs of living including housing, daily necessities, and home improvement needs.

Not only are travelers eyeing destinations off the beaten path, but they are also looking to stay longer. Notably, nights booked for long-term stays (stays longer than 28 days) in non-urban areas approximately doubled in popular travel and remote working hotspot Thailand, up from pre-pandemic.

In Southeast Asia, several destinations outside major metropolitan hubs were popular among travelers on Airbnb for long-term stays.

Examples included:

•Dapa, Panglao, Dumaguete and Silang in the Philippines;

•Ipoh, Kuah, Semenyih, and Port Dickson in Malaysia; and

•Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Lanta and Krabi in Thailand.

In the Philippines, travel interest in destinations outside major cities has increased with guest searches for Siquijor surging over 280 percent.

“More than two years since the start of the pandemic, we continue to see fundamental shifts in travel that are creating new opportunities for off-the -beaten-track communities. It’s incredibly exciting to see travelers so enthusiastic about exploring new destinations, as well as the positive economic impact cascading to locals,” Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said.

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