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Airbnb CEO: Post-Pandemic Travel Will Focus On Smaller Cities

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said there’s likely no going back to the pre-pandemic days of travel, Reuters reported.

He said travel would permanently change as people looking to rent places in smaller cities and spend more time among friends and family, according to the report. Traditional tourism, rife with sightseeing at highly popular global destinations, is likely to be much reduced as people travel less for business and rearrange their priorities, he said.

Chesky said travelers would be “yearning for what was taken away from them,” rather than to see various global landmarks, Reuters reported.

“They’re not yearning to see Times Square,” he said, according to Reuters. “What they are yearning to do is to see their friends and their families they have not seen in a long time.”

Airbnb had a tumultuous ride over the course of the pandemic, with a spate of cancellations and lockdowns early on causing the company to take a hit in sales, Reuters reported. But the company saw a resurgence in the latter half of the year as people began to travel in ways they thought were reasonable within the context of the pandemic’s new restrictions.

Airbnb went public in December and saw its shares more than double in size after the debut. On Thursday (Jan. 14), shares of the company rose to $187.42.

Airbnb was also among the companies to rebuke President Donald Trump and his followers in the aftermath of the Capitol raid on Jan. 6, according to reports. The company has canceled reservations for the Washington D.C. area for the week around President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, Reuters reported.

PYMNTS reported on the changes that will likely occur after the pandemic eventually ends, noting that conventions might take years to get back to what they were. Analyses found that it might take 10 years for business travel to come back to the pre-pandemic levels.

However, that could change based on how the vaccine rollout goes, according to around half of the members of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

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