Malaysians say short-term rentals drive local economic activity

  • Latest nationwide survey reveals that over 82% of Malaysians polled agree Airbnb drives economic activity and enables locals to generate extra income
  • Airbnb announces the rollout of enhanced reservation screening technology and tools to support responsible host and guest behaviour in strata buildings
  • The company reiterates the importance of short-term rental accommodation (STRA) for tourism growth, and its commitment to working hand in hand with the government as national STRA guidelines are developed

Kuala Lumpur, 20 June 2023 — A new survey by Clearpath Strategies* indicates an overwhelming consensus among Malaysians that Airbnb benefits the broader economy and local communities and boosts tourism. Over 82 percent of Malaysians polled said that Airbnb not only drives economic activity, but also allows locals to generate additional income. 

Of those surveyed, 84 percent agreed that Airbnb helps create opportunities for local business owners and 77 percent agreed that Airbnb provides travelers with an authentic, local and off-the-beaten-path experience. Over two-thirds (67 percent) of Malaysians polled said renting out homes through Airbnb has a positive impact on their community and its residents. 

Survey results also indicate strong support for short-term rental accommodation (STRA) among Malaysians. 6 in 10 Malaysians polled said that STRA gives an economic boost to suburban neighborhoods, and increases the tourism revenue for their communities. Notably, 75 percent agreed that Malaysians should be allowed to use surplus vacant apartments as STRA to tackle the property overhang, in areas including Penang, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, and Selangor.  

With prices and cost of living top of mind, the survey reveals that when it comes to travel, the #1 concern amongst Malaysians polled was that rising costs would make it harder for people to afford travel. Respondents also indicate that the top reasons why Malaysians use Airbnb are because it allows families to travel in a more affordable and comfortable way, boosts Malaysia tourism and generates extra income for locals renting out their homes.

As domestic and international travel continues to rebound, Airbnb is seeing growing interest in Malaysians to travel and host on the platform. Of those surveyed, almost 60 percent say they are likely to travel with Airbnb in the next 12 months. 40 percent are likely to host on the platform in the same period of time. 

Airbnb looks forward to upcoming national STRA guidelines

Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, reiterated the importance of fair and balanced STRA regulations in Malaysia, noting that the federal government is developing national STRA guidelines that all states can look towards.

Goh shared, “The ongoing travel resurgence presents fresh opportunities for tourism growth across Malaysia. Having clear and progressive regulations that support STRA operators, will ensure that local and international travelers continue to have access to a variety of unique, family-friendly stays at different price points. STRA also encourag travelers to stay longer, and affords medical tourists and digital nomads a home away from home. Most importantly, it allows everyday Malaysians and local businesses, from  F&B outlets to laundromats, to benefit from the trickle-down effects of tourism.”

“It is critical that STRA is regulated – in a balanced and effective way that enables, instead of restricting, Malaysia’s long-term tourism growth. We continue working hand in hand with the government to share best practices as the upcoming national STRA guidelines are developed, and will work with local authorities to support and educate our Hosts on responsible hosting,” she added.

Airbnb is rolling out new initiatives to help ensure responsible travel in strata buildings

In line with its commitment to helping ensure responsible hosting and guest behavior, Airbnb has launched enhanced reservation screening technology to reduce the risk of disruptive incidents on the platform globally. The system will help identify potential higher-risk reservations by looking at specific risk factors, and prevent these bookings from being made. This follows the party ban policy introduced by Airbnb last year, which includes a 16-person occupancy cap for every listing.  Since the company implemented anti-party measures in 2020, there has been a global 55% drop in party reports on the platform in two years.

Airbnb will also be rolling out a strata building toolkit for Hosts in Malaysia to promote responsible hosting in strata buildings. The company will work closely with Hosts in strata buildings to share:

*Based on data from a ClearPath Strategies survey commissioned by Airbnb that polled 1,267 respondents in Malaysia between 8 February – 2 March 2023.