GSB, Airbnb join forces on homestay

GSB, Airbnb join forces on homestay

State-owned Government Savings Bank (GSB) will offer special loans to homestay operators, and Airbnb will help these operators access travellers through the accommodation-sharing giant's platform.

The partnership between GSB and Airbnb for homestay owners is a pilot project that will extend to other hospitality entrepreneurs later, said bank president and chief executive Chatchai Payuhanaveechai.

The programme is expected to support local sustainable tourism while diversifying income distribution to communities across Thailand, in alignment with the government's initiative to drive local economic growth in secondary cities through tourism, Mr Chatchai said.

Under the scheme, the state-controlled bank will provide a special lending package -- smaller, flexible loans -- to hospitality micro-entrepreneurs who meet the bank's requirements.

Airbnb will train GSB officials to equip them with skills to navigate its global platform and impart knowledge to homestay owners who borrow under the scheme.

It is a mission of the bank to strengthen the grassroots economy by creating jobs and markets for these people to boost their income, Mr Chatchai said.

The bank has lent 28 million baht for development of local homestays in 100 communities nationwide, he said, adding that the loans have been extended to more than 300 homestay operators at a cheap rate of 0.75% monthly.

No collateral is required when the loan amount is less than 1 million baht. The bank has not set a target for the loan scheme, opting to provide support as needed.

"Local homestays are increasingly integral to the development of our tourism industry and communities," Mr Chatchai said. "This helps to create both economic and social value."

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