Airbnb, the world's leading community-driven hospitality company, announced a 99% y-o-y growth in guest arrivals in Malaysia having welcomed more than two million guests in the past year, making it the fastest growing market for Airbnb in Southeast Asia. There are now 44,000 listings in Malaysia on Airbnb, marking an almost 60% y-o-y increase.
Airbnb's strong local growth reflects the increasing popularity of Malaysia as a tourist destination on the global platform as it continues to grow from strength to strength. Globally, the third quarter of 2018 marked the strongest quarter in Airbnb history, and the first quarter in which Airbnb recognized substantially more than USD$1 billion in revenue worldwide. To date, there have been more than 400 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings around the world.
As part of the company's continuous commitment to empower Malaysia's tourism industry, Airbnb announced it has signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MOC) with the Malaysian Productivity Council (MPC), and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). Both collaborations aim to drive inclusive, sustainable development of tourism in Malaysia through healthy travel and hospitality entrepreneurship.
As part of the MOC with MPC, Airbnb will share relevant data and best practices to inform recommendations on short-term accommodation policy in Malaysia. Through this collaboration, 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.
Mich Goh, Airbnb Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia said, “At Airbnb, we are committed to collaborating with governments around the world to drive healthy, responsible travel while empowering local hospitality entrepreneurs. With over two million Airbnb guests in Malaysia in the past twelve months, we are working closely with the government and local industry stakeholders towards fair, progressive, and innovative policies for short-termaccommodation as we continue to promote local and authentic tourism in Malaysia.”
Airbnb's MOU with MDEC makes it the first travel platform in Malaysia to do so with the government agency. The partnership is focused on promoting digital inclusion and empowering local hospitality entrepreneurs in Malaysia, while building capacity in both Homes and Experiences throughout the country. Airbnb kickstarted the partnership in Penang where it held an Airbnb Experiences training workshop for local guides who already 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.
“We strongly welcome and support the Malaysian government's focus on digital technology, and look forward to continued knowledge exchange and collaboration with local stakeholders. 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,” added Goh.
Airbnb has remitted more than US$510 million in hotel and tourist taxes through agreements with more than 340 jurisdictions around the world. In Malaysia, the company has had meaningful conversations with authorities including the Ministry of Finance, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and Ministry of Tourism and Culture to discuss the implementation of Voluntary Collection Agreements (VCAs) to collect and remit tourist tax. The VCA is a tool designed by Airbnb to collect taxes from its host and guest community and remit it on their behalf. This helps to facilitate a streamlined process and lighten the administrative burden for local and state governments, as well as Airbnb hosts.
Earlier this year, Airbnb launched the Office of Healthy Tourism, a global initiative to drive local, authentic and sustainable tourism in countries and cities across the globe. The company also announced the creation of a new Tourism Advisory Board of tourism and policy experts, including former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai, and former Foreign Affairs Minister for Australia and Premier of New South Wales Professor the Hon Bob Carr. The Office of Healthy Tourism aims to shape Airbnb's long-term vision and initiatives to support healthy, responsible travel around the world.