Airbnb CEO: The Pandemic Will Force Us to See More of the World, Not Less

Cities aren’t dead, but Covid-19 will forever change the way we see them.

In the first month of the pandemic, Airbnb faced a loss of $1 billion due to canceled bookings, leading Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky to declare: “Travel as we knew it is over.”

Getting on an airplane, he postulated, was not something consumers would be ready to do for a long time, leaving travel plans to be dictated more by safety precautions than whimsy. Fast-forward a few months, and his outlook hasn’t fundamentally changed. But what once sounded like a cataclysmic doomsday prediction has given way to a more nuanced view of how travel is evolving—not dying.

“Some things will return and some won’t,” says Chesky, forecasting what travel may look like on the other side of Covid-19. “It one day will be stronger than it ever has been. But when it comes back, full force, it’s going to look different.” Among the things that'll be missing, he predicts: overtourism, business travel, and, to a lesser extent, loyalty programs.

Chesky also sees the rise of new and more varied destinations to visit, including—yes—resilient cities.

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