New data from Airbnb shows the return and evolution of travel in Southeast Asia is presenting fresh opportunities for communities across the region. Nights booked across Southeast Asia on Airbnb doubled in 2022, up from 20201, according to new internal data from the platform. This is an encouraging sign of ongoing recovery in the region, as travel continues to climb back to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Thailand was the #1 most visited countryon Airbnb in Southeast Asia in 20221, while top cities in the region included:
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Pattaya, Thailand
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Phuket, Thailand
The United States also ranked as the #1 country of origin for international Airbnb guests visiting Southeast Asia in 2022, followed by Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and South Korea1.
Intra-Southeast Asia travel remained popular with avid travelers visiting neighboring countries close by. Notably, Singaporeans flocked to Airbnb to book their getaways, with Singapore-Malaysia emerging as the top intra-Southeast Asia travel route on Airbnb, followed by Singapore-Thailand and Singapore-Indonesia1.
Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the travel resurgence currently taking place across Southeast Asia – a region that has always been a popular for travelers the world over, with its tropical climate, delicious local cuisines, spectacular scenery and rich cultural heritage. Airbnb is committed to partnering with local governments and communities to support the region’s travel renaissance in a way that allows local people to access the socio-economic benefits of travel. We’re also focused on relentlessly innovating to help disperse travel and encourage it to return in a way that’s responsible, creates human connection and is economically empowering for locals.”
Airbnb is continually innovating to help disperse travel beyond familiar destinations, so that more communities can benefit from the socio-economic opportunities that tourism offers. Airbnb’s flexible search tools, such as Flexible Dates, are already making a difference on this front, with guests booking through a Flexible Date search on the platform in key cities including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Metro Manila often more likely to book a stay outside popular areas in the city1.
Shifting travel trends across the region
- Group travel is gaining momentum
With a big focus from many travelers on connecting, and reconnecting, with loved ones, group travel in Southeast Asia more than tripled year-on-year in 20221. This comes as family travel on the platform increased 60 percent in 2022 globally compared to pre-pandemic, with more families booking Airbnb stays for their value and space.2
- Solo travel is on the rise
Solo travel in the region also grew by more than 2.6x, up from the year prior1.
- Travelers are staying for longer
Many travelers across Southeast Asia are staying for longer and more deeply engaging with local communities. In 2022, long term stays of over 28 days in the region grew by more than 2.5x year-on-year1.
Regional and domestic travel is back, in a big way
In a new YouGov survey commissioned by Airbnb, data indicated that3:
- More than 80 percent of Malaysians polled are optimistic about the travel rebound in Southeast Asia.
- 91 percent of Malaysians believe that the travel resurgence will benefit local communities and the national economy.
- Almost 4 in 10 Malaysians say they are excited to travel within Southeast Asia more frequently in the future, after not being able to for so long.
The new YouGov survey also highlighted that half or more Malaysians polled believe that there is a need for3:
- Accommodation options and tourism offerings that encourage longer stays
- A wide range of unique, value for money stays to attract travelers and differentiate their destinations
- Easy and affordable access to off-the-beaten-path places so those communities don’t miss out on tourist dollars
- Support for local tourism entrepreneurs
Ahead of major holidays and festivals throughout the region, there is strong travel momentum amongst Airbnb guests to travel within Southeast Asia. Guestsearches for Songkran in Thailand increased more than 310 percent year-on-year5, and guest searches for the March-April summer travel season in the Philippines surged almost 400 percent6. This Ramadan, guest searches increased almost 600 percent in Malaysia, and over 500 percent in Indonesia7.
- According to internal Airbnb data for 2022.
- According to internal Airbnb data looking at family travel, defined as a check-in with at least one child, between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022.
- Online survey of 4186 respondents in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines commissioned by Airbnb and conducted by YouGov between 15-22 March 2023. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Following the completion of interviewing, data was weighted to reflect the latest population estimates of each region.
- Based on searches for check in between 13-15 April 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, as of Q4 2022.
- Based on searches for check in between 1 March – 30 April 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, as of Q4 2022.
- Based on searches for check in between 23 Mar – 21 Apr 2023 compared to 3 April – 2 May 2022, as of Q4 2022.