Calling all digital nomads
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Calling all digital nomads

Airbnb partners with Tourism Authority of Thailand in an effort to attract aspiring remote workers

Remote workers at Sunset Hill Resort in Koh Phangan, which offers co-working space and accommodation for digital nomads.
Remote workers at Sunset Hill Resort in Koh Phangan, which offers co-working space and accommodation for digital nomads.

Airbnb is teaming up with 20 destinations around the world including Thailand to make it easier to live and work anywhere.

The online accommodation booking company earlier this year introduced its "Live and Work Anywhere" initiative to identify some of the most remote worker-friendly destinations in the world. The aim is to support governments and destination marketing organisations in helping to revive tourism and provide economic support to communities after two-plus years of travel restrictions.

In Thailand, Airbnb said it would work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand on a range of initiatives, including building a dedicated custom-built hub for Thailand that will showcase top local long-term stay listings as well as important information relating to entry requirements and visa policies to attract remote workers.

Airbnb will also partner with Thailand on educational campaigns to promote responsible hosting and travelling as a remote worker. A dedicated Thailand hub is expected to be launched later this year.

Airbnb's destination partners (see list) range from whole countries to smaller, lesser-known towns and were selected based on their attraction to remote workers and progressiveness in evolving policies that could attract a new type of traveller.

The initiative builds on work done during the pandemic when Airbnb partnered with more than 160 governments and destination marketing organisations to specifically support efforts to encourage the return of tourism -- including through remote working.

Millions of people are now more flexible about where they live and work, the company said. As a result, they are spreading out to thousands of towns and cities, staying for weeks, months or even entire seasons at a time. In the first three months of 2022, searches for international solo travel in Thailand for long-term stays grew by over 50% compared to the same time in 2019, according to data collected by Airbnb.

Notably, about one in five guests globally reported using Airbnb to work remotely while travelling in 2021 -- a trend that continued into the first quarter of 2022, with long-term stays at an all-time high, more than doubling from the first quarter of 2019. They are essentially "living" on Airbnb as guests and have already planned stays in over 72,000 cities and towns this summer.

Research conducted by the Harvard Business School shows that while digital nomads, and remote workers in general, can be a boon to any economy, they also might play a key role in fostering entrepreneurship in the communities where they stay, creating "technology clusters" around the world.

"In the two years since the pandemic began, a new world of travel has emerged in which many workers are untethered to an office. In collaborating with these destinations, we want to make it easier for workers to enjoy this flexibility and support the return of safe and responsible travel," said Nathan Blecharczyck, Airbnb co-founder and chief strategy officer.

"We know that travel brings significant economic opportunity to local communities and connects people around the world. We're excited to launch this one-stop shop for anyone thinking of joining the millions of workers that are already enjoying this new trend of working flexibility and travel."

"Thailand has long been a top destination for remote workers and long-term travellers globally. Strong local infrastructure, community access and a wide variety of unique accommodation for longer stays continue to attract visitors around the world, as well as our warm hospitality and unique culture," said Thapanee Kiatphaibool, deputy governor for domestic marketing with the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

"As we look to rebuild the country's tourism sector and accelerate recovery, we are honoured to partner with Airbnb on its global Live and Work Anywhere initiative to attract long-term travellers to Thailand."

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky has told employees that they could work from anywhere. In the first week following the announcement, Airbnb received more than 1 million visitors to its careers page.

Next month, "Live Anywhere" participants will finish their year-long adventure of "living on Airbnb", which has seen them visit almost 80 places around the world from Thailand to Scotland and South Korea.

DIGITAL DESTINATIONS

Countries and cities chosen for promotion by Airbnb:

  • Baja California Sur, Mexico
  • Bali, Indonesia
  • Brindisi and Puglia, Italy
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • The Caribbean
  • Canary Islands, Spain
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Colombia
  • Dubai
  • Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Malta
  • Mexico City
  • Palm Springs, California
  • Queensland, Australia
  • Rural France
  • Salzkammergut, Austria
  • Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Thailand
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
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