Airbnb contributed RM3.98b to Malaysia's GDP, from 2015 to 2019

PETALING JAYA (Aug 12): Short-term rental activities have contributed as much as RM3.98 billion to Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and supporting 52,100 local jobs between 2015 and 2019, a report by Oxford Economics revealed.

The report entitled “The Economic Impact of Airbnb in Malaysia”, which was commissioned by Airbnb, explores the total economic impact of the company nationwide between 2015 and 2019.

The report found that prior to the Covid-19 crisis, Airbnb had already been creating opportunities for families, small businesses and communities that benefit from short-term rental accommodation across Malaysia and the Asia-Pacific region.

It also highlighted the positive impact of Airbnb guests spending on local communities as the company spreads the benefits of tourism.

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

“For every RM100 spent by Airbnb tourists outside their accommodation spend, approximately RM49 went on shopping, activities and other related items while RM24 were spent on restaurants,” said the report, which was released by Airbnb today.

“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.

He noted that Airbnb may be able to play an important role in providing accommodation solutions to under-supplied or otherwise dislocated markets in the new environment.

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

Airbnb director of public policy Asia Pacific Mike Orgill said the report offers timely insights for the future to reconsider whether the current regulatory framework remains relevant and fit-for-purpose.

“Regulations that may have worked pre-Covid may not work post-Covid. At Airbnb, we are committed to working hand in hand with governments, tourist agencies, communities and other key local stakeholders in Malaysia to help restore travel in a responsible way, paving the way towards tourism’s much-needed recovery,” he added.

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