Airbnb can play a ‘critical role’ in tourism recovery: Oxford Economics

As Airbnb stands ready to work with governments to help local communities get back on their feet, new research from Oxford Economics indicates the platform’s community will play a key role in driving a long-term recovery in Australian tourism and jobs growth.

Oxford Economics’ new report explores the total economic impact of Airbnb in Australia. Commissioned by Airbnb, the landmark report found Airbnb was now a valuable pillar of Australia’s tourism industry, contributing $10.38 billion to Gross Domestic Product and supporting almost 90,000 Aussie jobs in 2019 alone.  

The report also highlighted the powerful multiplier effect Airbnb guest spending has within local communities. In 2019, Airbnb guests spent a total of $8.67 billion in Australia. 

The Oxford Economic report also details the colossal contribution made by Airbnb guests to domestic tourism across the nation. In 2019, domestic Airbnb guest spending totalled $5.86 billion. 

James Lambert, Oxford Economics’ Director of Economic Consulting in Asia, said: “Airbnb is well placed to play an important role in bringing tourists, and their spending, back to destination economies.

“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.

“Specifically, Airbnb can inspire domestic travel in areas outside tourist hotspot locations by offering unique listings and experiences across regional markets.”

Mr Lambert said Airbnb’s characteristics of “resilience, flexibility and affordability” meant that it is “well positioned to help accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector”.

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

Derek Nolan, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Australia, said: “COVID-19 has dealt a devastating blow to the Australian economy and we’re committed to working hand-in-hand with governments across the nation to help communities get back on their feet – particularly in the regions. 

“Tourism will recover and Australia’s future remains bright. We’re a resilient nation that has always risen to the challenge and this will be no exception. The entire Airbnb community stands ready to help tourism recover and grow sustainably into the future.

“This report is part of our ongoing efforts to better understand Airbnb’s contribution to economic growth so we can make sure we’re adding as much value as possible for the benefit of all Australians. While 2020 has been a year characterised by disruption, this 2019 data helps paint a long-term picture of the role short-term rental accommodation plays in job creation. 

“This report will also equip policymakers with a clearer picture of an important pillar of Australia’s tourism industry, which we hope they’ll find useful as they forge ahead with their crucial work to help local economies recover.”

Key highlights from the report include:

  • Airbnb is found to have supported a total of 89,600 jobs in Australia in 2019. 
  • The total jobs supported by Airbnb in 2019 represents some $3.92 billion in wages paid last year.
  • Airbnb guests spent $8.67 billion in Australia in 2019 – equivalent to 6% of all tourism spending across the nation last year.
  • Spending by domestic Airbnb guests accounted for 68% of total Airbnb guest spend in Australia in 2019. As a result, domestic Airbnb guest spending totalled $5.86 billion in 2019.
  • It is estimated that Airbnb supported a total contribution of $10.38 billion to Australia’s GDP in 2019, equivalent to 0.5% of the country’s total GDP.
  • The total economic impact of Airbnb in Australia equates to 6.1% of the entire tourism sector’s total contribution to GDP in 2019, and 6.6% of the sector’s total contribution to employment. 
  • Oxford Economics notes that since their independent study “captures the growing economic impact of Airbnb over the recent historical period 2015 to 2019, it is indicative of longer term trends”.

About Oxford Economics

Oxford Economics was founded in 1981 as a commercial venture with Oxford University’s business college to provide economic forecasting and modelling to UK companies and financial institutions expanding abroad. Since then it has become one of the world’s foremost independent global advisory firms.

About Airbnb

Airbnb is one of the world’s largest marketplaces for unique, authentic places to stay and things to do, offering over 7 million accommodations and 40,000 handcrafted activities, all powered by local hosts. An economic empowerment engine, Airbnb has helped millions of hospitality entrepreneurs monetize their spaces and their passions while keeping the financial benefits of tourism in their own communities. With more than half a billion guest arrivals to date, and accessible in 62 languages across 220+ countries and regions, Airbnb promotes people-to-people connection, community and trust around the world.