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Airbnb CEO says ‘travel as we knew it is over’ due to coronavirus pandemic

The way the world travels will never be the same after coronavirus, but Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky does not believe that the tourism industry is doomed forever.

“Travel as we knew it is over,” he told Deidre Bosa during an appearance on CNBC earlier this week. “It doesn’t mean travel is over, just the travel we knew is over, and it’s never coming back.”

Chesky, who founded the room rental service in 2008, said that moving forward, he suspects that there will be a “redistribution of where people travel.” Instead of flocking to large cities, tourists will likely turn their focus to smaller communities with less dense populations.

“No one quite knows what it will look like,” Chesky added.

Despite being hard hit by the global health crisis, the 38-year-old billionaire said he was optimistic about the market and that Airbnb is prepared for a potential second wave. The company was heavily impacted by travel restrictions and fears brought on by the potentially deadly coronavirus, forcing it to layoff nearly 25% of its workforce.

At the start of June though, Airbnb had the same volume of bookings as it did in the same time frame in 2019, likely from those traveling domestically, Chesky said.

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