The recently concluded fourth annual ShortStay Summit, a pivotal component of the Malaysia Digital Expo 2023 (MDX 2023), organised by HostAStay in collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), showcased the evolution of Malaysia’s digital landscape. The summit, held at the Connexion Conference and Event Center (CCEC), Bangsar South, on the 28th of October 2023, not only explored strategies for building a thriving digital nomad community but also unveiled exciting prospects for Malaysia in the global tech landscape.

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Front Row: Christen, Lauren, Amanpreet, Arifah, Jordan & Alex

This year’s summit marked a significant milestone with the inaugural DE Rantau Nomad Conference, a thought-provoking gathering that brought together industry leaders and digital nomads. The theme, ‘Building a Thriving Digital Nomad Community in Malaysia,’ provided a platform for diverse discussions led by inspiring speakers, including nomadic professionals and local entrepreneurs. The summit illuminated strategies and insights essential for nurturing a vibrant digital nomad ecosystem.

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From Left: Alex Ha (EnE Foundation), Arifah Sharifuddin (MDEC), Amanpreet Bajaj (Airbnb) & Jordan Oon (HostAStay)

Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager for Airbnb in Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said, “The rise of remote work presents economies with immense new tourism potential. In Malaysia, long-term stay nights on Airbnb grew from 11.6% to 18.6% of total nights booked by international guests from 2019 to 2022. Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor Bahru were our top three destinations for long-term stays last year. We are excited to continue partnering with MDEC on the DE Rantau programme and welcome our Host community to the growing national ecosystem supporting digital nomads and remote workers. Airbnb will continue working hand in hand with the government to ensure that travellers can enjoy a variety of unique stays at different price points – be it for a digital nomad travelling solo for a month, or a family enjoying a local getaway.”

In tandem with the summit’s focus on the digital nomad lifestyle, the Malaysia Digital Expo 2023 (MDX 2023) was announced as a six-week-long empowerment platform. Positioned as a ‘Show and Tell’ extravaganza, MDX 2023, of which the ShortStay Summit is an integral part, aims to showcase Malaysia’s digital prowess on the global stage. This expo, a testament to Malaysia’s commitment to innovation, will not only elevate the nation’s digital ecosystem but also pave the way for businesses to expand into ASEAN and beyond.

Mahadhir Aziz,  MDEC’s CEO said,  “DE Rantau Programme’s aim is to create a vibrant ecosystem that supports the digital nomad lifestyle, with Hostastay playing a key role in establishing DE Rantau Hubs and developing the DE Rantau Platform, an exclusive lifestyle mobile app for DE Rantau members. The DE Rantau Programme aligns with the national strategic initiative, Malaysia Digital (MD) to transform the nation’s digital capabilities and boost the digital economy by laying the foundation for a dynamic and diverse community of professionals who see Malaysia as a home away from home.”

Alex Ha, the dedicated Chairman of EnE Foundation, has assumed the noble mission of extending the boundless advantages of the internet to distant and marginalised rural regions.

In doing so, he is not only paving the path for a profound digital revolution but also presenting an exciting opportunity to venture into the dynamic short-stay industry.

The summit was made possible with the support of sponsors including Airbnb, ENE Foundation, and MDEC, and featured international speakers from various industries alongside seasoned nomadic speakers, such as Lauren Razavi from Safety Wing, ChristenScalfano, a Travel Consultant & Digital Nomad Coach, and Chris Cerra, the founder of RemoteBase, moderating panel sessions.

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From Left: Edwin (MBOR), Eddy Ting & Danny Ho

Additionally, the summit networking night provided an opportunity to celebrate MAPLEHOME’s outstanding achievement in securing the title of “Largest Short-Stay Management Company Chain” from The Malaysia Book of Record.

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Jordan Oon together with partners from Indonesia and Vietnam

Jordan Oon, Founder & CEO of HostAStay and Organizing Chairman of SSS 2023, expressed his enthusiasm for the future, stating, “We, as a team behind ShortStay Summit, will continue to champion the vibrancy of the short-stay industry. Our aim is to expand overseas and potentially host the next summit in other parts of Southeast Asia, uniting nomads from the region.”

The ShortStay Summit 2023, as part of the Malaysia Digital Expo 2023, not only celebrated the achievements of the short-stay industry in Malaysia but also set the stage for positioning the nation as a formidable player in the global digital landscape.


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