OVER the past few years, Malaysia has firmly established itself as one of Airbnb's fastest growing markets in Asia. With more than 1.5 million guest arrivals from over 176 countries - marking a significant 137% year-over-year growth - Malaysia is our most popular destination and the fastest growing market within South-East Asia alone.
We continue to grow because tourists increasingly want new and authentic adventures when they travel. In fact, 84% of our guests globally use Airbnb because they want to live like a local, and 44% of all guest spending takes place in the neighbourhoods where they stay. For them, Airbnb is the antidote to modern mass tourism and a gateway to experience true Malaysian hospitality.
Hospitality is a rapidly growing market, and Airbnb is growing the tourism pie by making travel more accessible and affordable for more people than ever. We are having meaningful and productive conversations with the Malaysian Government and local industry stakeholders.
The Airbnb community contributed RM200.4mil (US$50.2mil) to the Malaysian economy in 2017 alone. A typical Malaysian host earned RM4,790 (US$1,200) in 2017 and because hosts keep 97% of the money they charge, that's more revenue generated for local communities that do not typically benefit from tourism.
Home sharing platforms like Airbnb also offer the ability to adjust, if not correct, property market imbalances by enabling thousands of homeowners to share their homes and earn vital supplemental income. This is especially beneficial in Malaysia where the current residential overhang has generated 130,690 unsold and unused apartments worth RM20bil, and led the Government to limit construction of new apartment buildings.
We look forward to continuous engagement with local authorities in constructive dialogue to develop and implement appropriate frameworks - including tourism tax collection - that allow home sharing to thrive to Malaysia's short- and long-term benefit.
We have worked with hundreds of governments around the world to develop clear and sensible frameworks that support respectful and responsible home sharing. As a new chapter unfolds in Malaysia, Airbnb is committed to working with the Government to continue promoting authentic Malaysian hospitality and tourism to the rest of the world.
MICH GOH Head of Public Policy for Airbnb South-East Asia