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Airbnb expects more bookings, says holidays to boost travel


ONLINE home-sharing platform Airbnb is projecting higher bookings as the holiday season approaches, carried by strong demand from domestic travel.

Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb general manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, said the increase is expected since more Filipinos are looking to travel, adding that many new areas are getting their first bookings.

“It is the holiday season. There is a pent-up demand for travel. All the trends of increased searches and many new cities and towns getting their first bookings clearly shows a very positive outlook in terms of travel,” Mr. Bajaj said during an interview on the sidelines of Airbnb’s inaugural Future of Travel event in Makati City on Tuesday.

“In the Philippines, we see that there is a lot of interest in domestic travel, for people to capture interest around newer cities and newer places and to connect with family again. I think that is a very positive outlook for us,” he added.

Mich Goh, Airbnb Southeast Asia head of public policy, said Baguio City is the top searched destination by Filipinos in the second quarter this year, followed by Quezon City and Tagaytay City.

She added that trending destinations outside of tourist hotspots include Guagua, Pampanga; Unisan, Quezon; and Jala-Jala, Rizal.

“Tagaytay leads with the largest surge in guest searches on Airbnb in Q2 (second quarter) 2022 up from Q2 2019 pre-pandemic, followed by Dumaguete and Calaca,” Ms. Goh said.

Further, Mr. Bajaj said that Airbnb is looking to establish more partnerships to improve its platform and its presence in the country.

“I think the Philippines is a very important market for Airbnb and for the region as a whole. We will continue to look at partnership opportunities. We will continue to work with more partners in the country and work with our host community, and government stakeholders to ensure that we get an ecosystem that benefits all,” Mr. Bajaj said.

“We have already a vibrant host community in the Philippines. 65% of the host community is female-led. About 15% of our hosts in the Philippines are super hosts, which means that they provide a very high level of hospitality that is appreciated across the world,” he added.

Meanwhile, Airbnb said that longer travel was still a key trend in the second quarter of 2022, with 28-day-stays or higher posting a 25% increase from last year and by almost 90% from the second quarter of 2019.

“As more new destinations are getting the number of searches, we are very positive about the future outlook,” Mr. Bajaj said.

“But we should also be conscious of the fact that we are still in the middle of the pandemic. It will be important from a flexibility perspective to ensure that people have more flexible options in travel and that’s where a platform like Airbnb becomes very important,” he added.

The Tourism department on Monday announced that the Philippines has logged 1.77 million foreign visitors as of Oct. 17, breaching the 1.7 million visitors projected before June 30. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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