Airbnb, MDEC to collaborate on De Rantau programme, drive digital nomad travel to Malaysia

  • Airbnb, MDEC to promote 600+ digital nomad-friendly De Rantau hub listings
  • Aims to establish Malaysia as preferred hub for digital nomads in the region

(From Left): Steven Liew, Airbnb’s director of Public Policy for Asia Pacific; Mahadhir Aziz, CEO of MDEC; Fadzli Abdul Wahit, senior vice president of the Digital Industry Development Division at MDEC.

Airbnb and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on MDEC’s inaugural DE Rantau initiative. 

In a statement, Airbnb said the collaboration aims to establish Malaysia as a preferred hub for digital nomads in the region, and drive longer stays and more dispersed travel across the country.

It said the strategic partnership comes as the rise of remote work and flexible travel continues to accelerate post-pandemic. 

According to a forthcoming Oxford Economics study commissioned by the firm, long-term stays (28 nights or more) on Airbnb across the Asia Pacific region increased from 7.7% of total guest nights in 2019 to 11.6% in 2023. 

Mahadhir Aziz, CEO of MDEC said the agency is pleased to join forces with Airbnb for the inaugural De Rantau initiative, solidifying Malaysia's position as the preferred digital nomad hub in Asean. 

“This collaboration exemplifies our unwavering commitment to driving digital transformation and enriching the digital economy. Through Airbnb's global platform, offering diverse accommodation options to suit digital nomads' preferences, we are poised to unlock boundless opportunities for remote workers and propel Malaysia as a leading hub for the region,” he added.

“Together, with the Malaysia Digital national strategic initiative and its Pemangkin programmes, we aim to generate significant economic spill-over and foster exceptional growth, reshaping the way we work and live in Malaysia," Mahadhir said. 

Meanwhile, Steven Liew, Airbnb’s Asia Pacific director of Public Policy, said the rise of remote work presents economies with immense new potential, and contributes to inclusive travel that empowers more local destinations and communities. 

“MDEC’s De Rantau initiative will help encourage greater digital adoption and professional mobility, while driving tourism recovery in the long term. We will continue working hand in hand with the government to ensure that travelers continue to enjoy a variety of unique stays at different price points – be it for a digital nomad traveling solo for a month, or a family enjoying a weekend getaway,” Liew said.

In Malaysia, long-term stay nights grew from 11.6% to 18.6% of total guest nights booked by international guests from 2019 to 2022 and the top three destinations for long-term stays in 2022 were Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor Bahru, it said.

It added that through the partnership, Airbnb and MDEC will work together to identify and promote approximately over 600 digital nomad-friendly DE Rantau Hub listings on Airbnb, with more to be certified by MDEC in the coming months. 

These MDEC-certified listings, located in key tourism hotspots such as Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Penang, and Langkawi will provide travelers with digital nomad-friendly amenities. These include dedicated workspaces, WiFi, kitchen and laundry facilities that are ideal for long stays of a month and more, Airbnb said.

Therefore, to encourage more digital nomad travelers to visit Malaysia, Airbnb has launched a landing page ​featuring all MDEC-certified, remote work-friendly DE Rantau Hub listings. The page aims to drive awareness of Malaysia as a digital nomad-friendly destination and the benefits of MDEC’s DE Rantau Pass.

Airbnb said it has also launched a global Guide for Hosts on how they can make their space more friendly for long-term stay guests, and will run workshops for Malaysian Hosts to share more about DE Rantau and latest digital nomad travel trends.

A recent survey from ClearPath Strategies commissioned by Airbnb reflects Malaysians’ anticipation and optimism surrounding the initiative. It highlights that 75% of Malaysians polled believe that Airbnb is good for remote workers and long-term stays, and six in ten Malaysians polled said that short-term rental accommodation gives an economic boost to suburban neighborhoods and increases the tourism revenue for their communities. 

In line with its commitment to help ensure responsible hosting and guest behavior, Airbnb has launched enhanced reservation screening technology to reduce the risk of disruptive incidents on the platform globally, and a comprehensive set of ground rules for guests

The global platform will soon roll out a strata building toolkit for hosts in Malaysia to promote responsible hosting in strata buildings, it said.


Related Stories :

Keyword(s) :
Author Name :
Download Digerati50 2020-2021 PDF

Digerati50 2020-2021

Get and download a digital copy of Digerati50 2020-2021