On Tuesday, Airbnb and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly find and market more than 600 Airbnb properties suitable for digital nomads. The agreement, announced at MDEC Bangsar South, aims to make Malaysia a preferred destination for digital nomads in Southeast Asia..
“This collaboration exemplifies our unwavering commitment to driving digital transformation and enriching the digital economy. Through Airbnb’s global platform, offering diverse accommodation options to suit digital nomads’ preferences, we are poised to unlock boundless opportunities for remote workers and propel Malaysia as a leading hub for the region” said, MDEC chief executive officer Mahadhir Aziz.
The MOU complements MDEC’s DE Rantau program, which aims to market Malaysia as a Southeast Asian hub for digital nomads while promoting digital usage, professional mobility and tourism across the country. Under the initiative, nomadic passes are issued to foreign or local participants, allowing them to travel and work remotely in MDEC’s nomadic centers throughout Malaysia.
The Airbnb properties that are suitable for digital nomads will be found in popular tourist destinations including Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Penang, and Langkawi.
The evolution of remote work, fueled by the pandemic, has spawned a new style of travel, according to Steven Liew, director of public policy at Airbnb Asia Pacific.
“MDEC’s DE Rantau initiative will help encourage greater digital adoption and professional mobility while driving tourism recovery in the long term. We will continue working hand in hand with the government to ensure that travelers continue to enjoy a variety of unique stays at different price points — be it for a digital nomad traveling solo for a month, or a family enjoying a weekend getaway,” said Liew.
He said that hosts who want to become MDEC-certified must offer amenities such as high-speed Internet, designated workstations, and kitchen and laundry areas that are suitable for extended stays. Mahadhir explained that in addition to amenities, a vibrant environment is important for digital nomads.
According to Mahadhir, MDEC currently has about 1,400 nomad-ready hubs and expects to have 2,000 hubs by the end of the year.