Airbnb’s Thai-cation: Boosting GDP and jobs in the Land of Smiles, study shows

Photo: by slator.

A recent study by Oxford Economics highlights the significant role played by Airbnb in Thailand’s tourism sector, making a substantial contribution to the country’s GDP and job market.

According to the report commissioned by Airbnb, the platform made a substantial 31 billion baht contribution to Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product in 2022, supporting almost 56,500 jobs. This translates to approximately 1.7% of the tourism industry’s overall GDP contribution.

The research also underscores the multiplier effect of Airbnb guest spending within local communities. In 2022, Airbnb guests injected nearly 41 billion baht into Thailand’s economy, covering expenses related to dining, retail, transportation, and accommodation.

This marked an impressive 500% increase from 2021, reaching 72% of the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019. On average, each guest spent 34,000 baht during their stay.

Furthermore, the report delves into two significant shifts in travel behaviour since the pandemic: the emergence of long-term stays, driven by flexible work arrangements, and the dispersal of tourism away from urban centres.

As international travel rebounded, the United States emerged as Thailand’s largest source market, accounting for 14% of total international Airbnb guests.

Tourism benefits

Notably, long-term stays (28+ nights) constituted 35.6% of all guest nights in Thailand in 2022, a significant increase from the 13.9% recorded in 2019.

The report also highlights Airbnb’s ability to distribute the benefits of tourism spending beyond major provinces like Bangkok and Phuket. Guest spending increased in regions like Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Krabi between 2020 and 2022. Koh Samui, in particular, witnessed a 12% surge in spending, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

James Lambert, Director for Economic Consulting in Asia at Oxford Economics, noted that Airbnb played a substantial role in the resilience and recovery of Thailand’s tourism sector after the Covid-19 pandemic. The platform facilitated trends such as the shift from urban to rural destinations and the increased demand for long-stay trips, as reported by Travel Daily News.

Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, emphasised the economic ripple effects created by Airbnb’s contributions to GDP and job creation.

These effects have supported the growth of local businesses and created job opportunities for locals.

The rise of long-term stays since 2020, fueled by flexible work policies and initiatives like Airbnb’s “Live and Work Anywhere” collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, has also been instrumental in attracting guests who stay longer and spend more per trip.

Airbnb remains committed to working with governments and communities to rebuild tourism economies equitably, inclusively, and sustainably across Thailand.

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Jimmy Donovan

Jimmy, currently with The Thaiger, translates his global journalism experience to bring insights about Thailand to life. Originally from St Albans, England, he now calls Bangkok home, where he focuses on delivering nuanced socio-political stories. His robust skill set and commitment to truth have established him as a trusted voice in journalism.

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