‘Travel will never, ever go back to the way it was,’ Airbnb CEO says

Mike Murphy

That’s the grim view of Airbnb Inc. co-founder and Chief Executive Brian Chesky, in an interview published Sunday by Axios.

“I will go on the record to say that travel will never, ever go back to the way it was pre-COVID. It just won’t,” Chesky told Axios. “There are sometimes months when decades of transformation happen.”

Chesky predicted that vacationers will stay closer to home in the future, largely limiting their travel to places within driving distance, with national parks becoming even more popular destinations.

“I think you’re going to start to see travel becoming more intimate, more local, to smaller communities,” he said, citing Airbnb data that shows travel within countries is recovering to normal levels. But its international business is still being hit hard. “People are not getting on airplanes, they’re not crossing borders, they’re not meaningfully traveling to cities, they’re not traveling for business.”

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Brian Chesky, chief executive and co-founder of Airbnb Inc., speaks in New York in 2017. 

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