Airbnb has partnered the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to launch the Beyond Big Cities website that is aimed at promoting travel to lesser-known and emerging destinations across Thailand.
Through the use of big data and leveraging of Airbnb’s digital technology expertise, Airbnb and TAT will seek to drive domestic and international travel to off-the-beaten-track destinations throughout Thailand, going beyond the big cities and supporting local community-led tourism in line with the Thai government’s policies.
“This new collaboration will enable TAT to clearly see domestic and international traveller trends, and how there are growing numbers travelling beyond Thailand’s big cities and exploring off-the-beaten-track destinations around the country. This supports the government’s goal to diversify tourism and to create a more sustainable tourism model that supports local entrepreneurs,” shared Mich Goh, head of public policy for South-east Asia, Airbnb.
Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, deputy governor for digitalisation, research and development at TAT, said: “Our collaboration with Airbnb will give TAT access to valuable data and help us to better track tourism trends around the country. One of our policies is to encourage responsible tourism to emerging destinations throughout Thailand and working with Airbnb will help us to achieve this and further grow tourism at a local community level.”
One area in which Airbnb claims it sees spikes in visitorship is during big events held in emerging cities across Asia-Pacific over the past year.
In the up-and-coming sports tourism hub of Buriram in Thailand, Airbnb partnered with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ Department of Tourism and homestay provider B-STAY to build flexible accommodation supply for the Thailand MotoGP 2018 and 2019.
For this year’s MotoGP, Airbnb’s host community in Buriram welcomed over 430 guests from more than 100 cities around the world into their homes and communities, a 96 per cent year-on-year increase. This number is expected to continue its growth trajectory as more locals open up their homes to both Thai and international visitors who want to experience Buriram in a local, authentic way, according to the company.
“Governments and travellers have turned to Airbnb as a sustainable solution to scale up accommodation supply without having to invest in additional infrastructure, all while supporting hospitality entrepreneurs who want to share their local culture with visitors,” added Goh.
“This trend is on the rise as smaller cities in Asia-Pacific increasingly play host to big tourism events, such as the recent Rugby World Cup in Japan, where we saw guest arrivals grow approximately 176 per cent in Kumamoto and 100 per cent in Oita compared to the same time last year.”
Airbnb said in a statement that it remains committed to investing in regional efforts to disperse travel away from over-touristed hotspots to destinations off the beaten path.
“Events can provide real opportunity for local communities to benefit from tourism and Airbnb offers guests an authentic travel experience. We see more and more people travelling to emerging destinations, exploring local neighbourhoods and their spend going direct to the community. We look forward to our collaboration with the TAT providing real on-the-ground benefit for community tourism countrywide,” concluded Goh.