STRA refers to stays that are rented out for a short period – from several days to weeks on end.

Short-term rental accommodations (STRA) positively impacts tourism growth

IF you are a travel bug, chances are you’ve heard of and stayed at a short-term rental accommodation (STRA) in Malaysia.

STRA refers to stays that are rented out for a short period – from several days to weeks on end.

Anchored on the concept of home sharing, it allows everyday people to make their space available for travellers.

Driving tourism growth

According to the latest research by travel industry news site Skift, the Asia Pacific region is expected to be the most promising market for STRA in the coming years. Notably, Kuala Lumpur was one of the top cities in South-East Asia on Airbnb last year.

With Malaysia targeting 23.5 million international tourist arrivals and the country’s recent launch of the DE Rantau Nomad Pass, STRA is set to play a vital role in attracting different types of travellers – from groups, digital nomads to medical tourists.

Avid traveller Nigel Anthony Fernandez shares that Airbnb has been his go-to travel choice for family getaways, as it allows them to live together under one roof while vacationing.

Dr Jayanthi says short-term­ ­rentals near hospitals give patients a sense of home.Dr Jayanthi says short-term­ ­rentals near hospitals give patients a sense of home.

Dr Jayanthi Arasoo, an IVF specialist based in Johor, notes that many patients usually book accommodations adjacent to the hospital while they undergo treatment for almost three weeks.

“From a medical tourism perspective, diversity in travel accommodation options and allowing for short-term rental stay is key,” says Dr Jayanthi, who adds that a variety of accommodations near hospitals provides patients with a sense of home, and a bigger space to rest.

Thriving ecosystems

Jay T, who runs a bakery at The OOAK Suites and Residences@Kiara 163 – a popular serviced apartment located in the affluent suburb of Mont Kiara in Kuala Lumpur – says most of his customers consist of STRA guests.

He believes that these short-term rentals have created an ecosystem that also benefits small businesses like his.

Jay T feels STRA creates ecosystems that benefit small businesses.Jay T feels STRA creates ecosystems that benefit small businesses.

Aside from local businesses, STRA also creates demand for complementary services, and with it, new job opportunities – something Rosliana Mohd Yusof, can vouch for.

“I believe many businesses are benefiting from STRA, such as the cleaning industry that I’m in, as well as F&B, laundry services, and convenience stores nearby,” says the 45-year-old housekeeping manager at Salaam Suites – a rental management company that provides one-stop cleaning, amenities, repairs, and maintenance services for STRA properties.

Need for sound regulations

As the role of home sharing in the tourism economy continues to expand, it is just as important that the industry is regulated fairly and effectively.

Datin Grace Xavier, former associate professor and research fellow at Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Law, says in challenging economics times, home sharing can provide a critical supplementary source of income for Malaysians.

“Short-term stays – whether at landed properties, high-rise buildings or homestays – should be encouraged with proper regulation and not a blanket ban,” she adds.

Trinidad Group Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Naresh Mohan points out that STRA rentals have become game-changers in the industry.

“Short-term rentals have created a new industry offering unique stays for travellers of all types – from inter-generational families to friend groups and long-term travellers,” he says.

Global online travel platforms, as he points out, have wide-reaching channels that can boost Malaysia’s visibility and appeal among the international travel community, but proper guidelines are a must.

“It is essential that our regulations help foster a thriving tourism economy that empowers everyday Malaysian homeowners, entrepreneurs and consumers keen to make informed choices for their holiday homes based on personal preferences and requirements,” he adds.

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