Airbnb has sealed its first partnership with a government agency in Thailand to train local provincial officials on hospitality, hosting and compliance standards, with a view to onboard existing homestays onto the global homesharing platform.
Joining forces with the Thai Ministry of Interior’s Department of Local Administration (DLA) as part of the Empowering Local Tourism Entrepreneurs initiative, both partners agree to conduct training sessions focused on sharing information about Airbnb, and how to use the platform to distribute tourism income to local communities across Thailand.
Moreover, they will work to equip officials with the digital literacy skills to help locals create and manage their own listings on the platform, as well as build a local community of hosts in each province who can support and learn from each other.
Suttipong Juljarern, DLA director-general, Ministry of Interior, said: “Digital technology fosters real-time audiovisual communication and connections between local communities and guests around the world, and will surely encourage economic development in rural areas. This will help us achieve the UN and the Royal Thai Government’s goals to alleviate poverty, as this additional stream of revenue for locals means the improvement of their living standards in all respects.”
Mich Goh, Airbnb head of public policy for South-east Asia, added: “By promoting digital inclusion and the effective use of our platform to attract inbound guests domestically and abroad, we will help drive economic growth in areas that have not traditionally benefited from tourism.”
Commented Mike Orgill, Airbnb director of public policy for Asia-Pacific: “Through this partnership, we will empower the muang rong (secondary cities), the thesaban (municipalities) and the tambon (sub-districts) to transform themselves into communities of local hospitality entrepreneurs, which are an integral part of Thailand’s booming tourism industry. This new generation of local tourism entrepreneurs is something envisioned by nations around the globe as a new driving force of tourism.”
The launch of the initiative also saw a country-first joint training workshop conducted by three Airbnb Superhosts and Community Leaders, and guest speakers from the Ministry of Interior’s Department of Provincial Administration and the Thai Immigration Bureau.
Over 100 Thai officials attended the workshop including representatives from the Provincial Office for Local Administrations, and selected local administrative organisations in the tourism sector across 11 provinces. The provinces are: Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Ayutthaya, Petchaburi, Songkhla, Satun, Ubon Ratchathani and Sukhothai.
Suttipong remarked: “The training workshop will help promote development in local areas by sustainably building accommodation capacity, and upskilling and empowering officials to become professional community managers. It also prepares locals to be ready to host and