Connectivity and affordability are among the top things that make Malaysia a friendly destination for digital nomads, according to a home sharing platform.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Airbnb and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to drive the country’s tourism recovery through the “DE Rantau” programme.
Steven Liew, Airbnb Asia Pacific director of public policy, says that the programme’s mission is to turn Malaysia into a favourable hub for digital nomads and promote longer stays within the region. He thinks DE Rantau is one way to generate some interest in this, especially among young talents.
“Having experienced remote working firsthand, I realised one can be productive from anywhere in the world, while still staying connected with your colleagues,” Liew says, adding that he has observed a growing trend of flexible travel and remote working over the past few years.
The purpose of DE Rantau is to ensure people are able to enjoy the digital nomadic lifestyle with ease, with access to amenities such as WiFi and transportation, as well as a comfortable workspace. Kitchen and laundry facilities are sometimes included too.
In a recent survey by Airbnb, bookings for long-term stays (in this context, a stay of 28 days or more) in Malaysia has increased from 11.6% (in 2019) to 18.6% in 2022. The three most popular places to book were Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor Baru.
“Airbnb and MDEC will work together to identify and promote over 600 digital nomad-friendly DE Rantau Hub listings on Airbnb,” Liew shares.
In conjunction with this partnership, Airbnb has also introduced new features as part of its efforts to raise awareness of the programme. One of the features is that guests will be able to enjoy a reduced service fee for a stay of more than three months.
Remote workers can also apply for a DE Rantau Nomad Pass (with a fee), which allows them to work and stay in Malaysia for up to a year, with their family members.
For Airbnb Hosts who are looking to transform their space into a DE Rantau-certified hub, the platform provides guidelines on how to make the property more friendly for long-term stay guests.