New research from Oxford Economics reveals that Airbnb is an important pillar of Thailand’s tourism industry, playing a crucial role in the industry’s contribution to GDP and employment. The report, commissioned by Airbnb, found that the platform’s activities contributed over THB 31 billion to Gross Domestic Product and supported almost 56,500 Thai jobs in 2022* alone –
New research from Oxford Economics reveals that Airbnb is an important pillar of Thailand’s tourism industry, playing a crucial role in the industry’s contribution to GDP and employment.
The report, commissioned by Airbnb, found that the platform’s activities contributed over THB 31 billion to Gross Domestic Product and supported almost 56,500 Thai jobs in 2022* alone – accounting for approximately 1.7 percent of the tourism industry’s contribution to GDP.
The report also highlighted the powerful multiplier effect Airbnb guest spending has within local communities. In 2022*, Airbnb guests spent a total of almost THB 41 billion in Thailand including in restaurants, retail stores, transportation, as well as accommodation. This marked an increase of almost 500 percent from 2021, reaching 72 percent of 2019 pre-pandemic levels. On average, guests spent THB 34,000 during their trip.
The report also explores two profound changes in travel behavior since the pandemic: long-term stays driven by the emergence of flexible work arrangements, and the dispersal of tourism away from urban areas.
As international travel rebounded, the United States was Thailand’s largest origin market accounting for 14 percent of total international Airbnb guests. Notably, long-term stays (i.e. those staying for 28+ nights) accounted for 35.6% of total guest nights in Thailand in 2022*, up from 13.9% in 2019.
The report found that Airbnb was able to re-distribute the benefits of tourism spend to areas outside the major provinces of Bangkok and Phuket, as guest spending grew in regions such as Koh Samui, Pattaya and Krabi between 2020 and 2022*. In fact, Koh Samui saw spending surpass pre-pandemic levels – up 12 percent from 2019 in 2022*.
James Lambert, Director for Economic Consulting in Asia for Oxford Economics said, “Airbnb has clearly played a major role in the resilience and rejuvenation of Thailand’s travel and tourism sector, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Airbnb has been at the heart of some of the trends reshaping the nation’s travel and tourism industry, including the shift in travel away from cities and towards more rural communities, and the increase in demand for long-stay trips, exemplified by the live and work anywhere phenomenon.”
“Domestic travelers have been crucial to the tourism sector’s resilience over the past three years as Thai guests saw opportunities in domestic travel as a substitute for international holidays. Self-drive and regional trips increased in popularity, which led to a wider dispersion of tourism spend outside the traditional or ‘popular’ destinations in Thailand,” added Lambert.
Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan shared, “The economic contribution to both GDP and jobs driven by travel on Airbnb in Thailand has created powerful economic ripple effects that have enabled the growth of local businesses, such as shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes — which are often central to how travelers experience a destination — and created job opportunities for the locals.
“The growth of the long-term stays segment since 2020 — enabled by flexible work policies and supported by Airbnb’s Live and Work Anywhere initiative with the Tourism Authority of Thailand — is also helping destinations such as Thailand to attract guests who stay longer and spend more per trip. As destinations across Thailand continue to recover, we are committed to partnering with governments and communities to rebuild their tourism economies in a way that is equitable, inclusive, and sustainable,” Goh added.
* This report presents results for the twelve month period up to and including March 2023, referred to as 2022*, which represents the first full year after the reopening of international travel. Prevailing exchange rates at the time of study were applied, using proprietary data from Oxford Economics.