03 July 2020


Internal Airbnb data has indicated signs of a positive outlook for the tourism industry as travel is beginning to recover in Malaysia, with bookings by Airbnb guests increasing 190% percent month-over-month.

New data released on 2 July by Airbnb reveals an optimistic outlook for the tourism industry as travel is beginning to recover in Malaysia. Most notably, overall bookings by guests increased by almost 190 percent month over month[1]. In the past 30 days, 93 percent of the total bookings made on Airbnb were for domestic destinations[2].

This follows closely with the announcement of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) and lifting of travel restrictions around the country, which has seen attention turning towards domestic tourism as a key driver for recovery in the sector. While the travel industry has been significantly disrupted by COVID-19, internal Airbnb data shows positive signs that travel is beginning to bounce back, led by trends that will shape travel in the weeks and months to come.

Key Trends: A New World of Travel

Domestic travel is trending to destinations near, rather than far, in tandem with the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia campaign and ongoing efforts by the government as well as industry players to promote tourism within the country.

Based on recent booking data, the top domestic destinations over the last 30 days in Malaysia include Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang. Guests are also satisfying their wanderlust with travel to non-urban[3] destinations, such as Cameron Highlands, Kuala Terengganu, Port Dickson and more, comprising almost 64 percent of bookings[4].

Tapping into the demand for nearby trips, Airbnb will be updating the app and homepage to help guests rediscover the magic in their own backyards by making it easier to book local travel, including at the last-minute. The homepage and app will be featuring local trip ideas and highlighting nearby getaways.

Local Economic Impact Supports Tourism Recovery

Even in a world with reduced travel, Airbnb has the potential to generate billions of dollars for local economies, as one of the unique aspects of Airbnb’s host and guest community keeps economic benefits locally. In 2019, Airbnb’s direct economic impact in 30 top markets was USD117 billion, a 17 percent increase over 2018.

Last year, Airbnb’s host and guest community in Malaysia contributed MYR3.7 billion in direct economic impact[5]. According to 33 percent of Airbnb hosts in Malaysia, their Airbnb income helped them stay in their homes[6]. Overall, guests spent close to MYR3.3 billion in Malaysia. Beyond accommodation, the top five areas of spend by Airbnb guests were on restaurants, shopping, transportation, groceries and entertainment[7].

As travel resumes, it is clear that Airbnb can once again be a strong contributor to the sector and economy’s recovery.

“We are already seeing early positive signs of domestic travel getting ready to make a comeback, driven by locals booking holidays that are closer to home. This latest data reinforces our belief that travellers are increasingly looking for more local, authentic and affordable experiences,” said Kum Hong Siew, Regional Director (Asia-Pacific), Airbnb. “Tourism is a key driver of economic growth in Malaysia and it will play an important role in overall recovery. 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 that economically benefits local citizens and small businesses, paving the way towards tourism’s much-needed recovery.”

The COVID-19 crisis will continue to change the way we live and travel. Airbnb will continue to encourage all hosts and guests to be responsible and follow guidelines from local officials if and when they choose to travel.

[1] Based on Airbnb internal booking data as of 29 June 2020.

[2] Based on Airbnb internal booking data as of 24 June 2020.

[3] Urban area is defined as the region surrounding a city.

[4] Based on Airbnb internal booking data for the past 30 days as of 24 June 2020.

[5] Data from the 2019 Airbnb Compact Survey.

[6] Data from the 2019 Airbnb Compact Survey.

[7] Data from the 2019 Airbnb Compact Survey.