Hospitality marketplace Airbnb has contributed about RM3.98 billion to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP), supporting 52,100 local jobs in 2019, according to Oxford Economics.

In a report titled “The Economic Impact of Airbnb in Malaysia”, the independent global advisory firm revealed that the tourism sector had benefited from Airbnb guests who had been spending on local communities.

“Between 2015 and 2019, Airbnb guests spent a total of RM11.8 billion, growing at an annual rate of 79.6 percent in Malaysia.

“For every RM100 spent by Airbnb tourists outside their accommodation spend, about RM49 went on shopping, activities and other related items while RM24 were spent on restaurants,” said Oxford Economics.

Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb had been creating plenty of opportunities for families, SMEs, and communities that benefit from short-term rental accommodation across Malaysia and the APAC region.

The report also serves to highlight the largest share of spending within the country, that being in the capital of Kuala Lumpur and the tourist hotspot of Penang. Areas such as Johor and Sabah saw their share of contribution to national GDP more than double to 4.0 per cent to 9.3 percent and 4.9 percent to 10.7 percent, respectively from 2015 to 2019.

“Airbnb could play an important role in supporting the earlier recovery of domestic travel by helping households, particularly those who seek to substitute an international trip with a domestic one, discover new areas in their own country to visit,” said Oxford Economics director of economic consulting in Asia, James Lambert.

The firm also said that Airbnb’s community would be crucial contributors towards supporting Malaysia’ long-term recovery by unlocking economic opportunities and creating more jobs.

Lambert said Airbnb may be able to play an important role in providing accommodation solutions to under-supplied or otherwise dislocated markets, amid this new environment.

“In 2019, much of Airbnb’s growth in Malaysia is powered by Malaysians with 63 percent of the guests staying in the 66,000 Airbnb listings in the country, as opposed to 43 percent in 2015.”

Mike Orgill, Airbnb Asia Pacific public policy director, said the recovery of national economies and the recovery of the Malaysian tourism industry were inseperably linked.

“This new report confirms that the Airbnb community is a proven way to grow Malaysian tourism, help local communities and create tens of thousands of local jobs,” he said.


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