Airbnb to invest $2M for tourism projects in Asia

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There are around 32,000 homes in the Philippines listed on Airbnb. -- AFP

ONLINE HOSPITALITY services provider Airbnb is investing $2 million in the Asia-Pacific region until 2020 to promote tourism projects.

Airbnb Country Manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan Robin Kwok said member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will benefit from this investment as well.

“It’s dedicated to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and just from being here in the Philippines multiple times I can already see huge opportunity for innovation, new ideas, and for SMEs (small to medium enterprises) and start-ups to participate. I look forward to Philippine communities to take advantage of this fund and to get involved,” Ms. Kwok told reporters on the sidelines of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Parañaque yesterday. 

Airbnb is an online marketplace where homeowners can lease or rent out their apartments and houses on a short-term basis. At present, Ms. Kwok said the Philippines has a total of 32,000 homes under its network.

“We’ve seen about 32,000 homes here in the Philippines, everywhere from Makati, to Cebu to Palawan to Boracay. People want to host, share their space, generate that supplemental income and we’re also seeing more and more people search for the Philippines because they want to travel here,” Ms. Kwok said.

This comes amid a 12.7% increase of foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines from the January to June 2017 period to 3.36 million.

“And we believe we can be a huge supporter for the objective for ASEAN which is to have 800 million inbound international tourists by 2025,” Ms. Kwok said.

Ms. Kwok noted the Philippines reflects the global trend of Airbnb’s hosts, where 75% are located in areas outside the country’s capital and business districts. 

“That means that local mom-and-pop shops, SMEs, they’re now seeing benefits, because people are spending more time and money in those neighborhoods. And that’s great news for those in the local areas as well,” Ms. Kwok said. — Arra B. Francia