Airbnb and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on MDEC’s inaugural DE Rantau initiative.
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.
The strategic partnership comes as the rise of remote work and flexible travel continues to accelerate post-pandemic. 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. The top 3 destinations for long-term stays in 2022 were Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor Bahru.
Through the partnership, Airbnb and MDEC will work together to identify and promote approximately over 600digital 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.
To encourage more digital nomad travelers to visit Malaysia, Airbnb has launched a landing page airbnb.com/liveandworkinmalaysia 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 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.
Ts. Mahadhir Aziz, Chief Executive Officer of MDEC said, “We are thrilled 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. Together, with the Malaysia Digital (MD) 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.”
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. We are excited to partner with MDEC on this digital-first initiative, and welcome our Host community to the growing national ecosystem supporting digital nomads and remote workers across Malaysia.”
“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,” he added.
A recent survey from ClearPath Strategies commissioned by Airbnb reflects Malaysians’ anticipation and optimism surrounding the initiative. 75% of Malaysians polled believe that Airbnb is good for remote workers and long-term stays, and 6 in 10 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.