Airbnb boss says ‘travel is over’ as markets dive
The CEO of Airbnb has claimed that "travel as we knew it is over - and it's never coming back" due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Brian Chesky, who co-founded the holiday rental site in 2008, said there will be a "redistribution of where people travel … instead of to only a few cities, to thousands of local communities".
Speaking during a TV interview in the US, Mr Chesky said, "People don't want to get on aeroplanes … they don't want to go to cities, they don't want to cross borders.
"What they are willing to do is get in a car and drive a couple of hundred miles to a small community where they are willing to stay in a house.
"People are yearning for a connection. They want to be connected to each other, to communities, they want to get outside."
Mr Chesky also revealed how the pandemic affected his business, that "we spent 12 years building [it] and lost almost all of it in a matter of four to six weeks".
The Airbnb boss' comments come as stocks went down sharply on Wall Street on Wednesday (local time) as data showing new coronavirus cases in the US have climbed to the highest level in two months rattles investors' optimism for a relatively quick economic turnaround.
But Mr Chesky remained optimistic about the US market saying "it's resilient", pointing out that his company has "more hosts now than before the start of the COVID-19 crisis" and had the same volume of bookings in the US in May and early June as the year before "without any marketing".
But he stressed that while travel will come back, "it's going to take a lot longer than what we thought" and that it's "going to be different".
But it was not a good day for Wall Street as stocks tumbled after coronacases again spiked in the US and the S&P 500 plunged 2.2 per cent around the time it was announced that governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut would implement new coronavirus travel restrictions requiring visitors from states with high infection rates to quarantine for 14 days.
While economic data is pointing to a recovery from the spring lockdowns that are being eased in the U.S. and other countries, the rise in new infections is stoking worries that the reopening of businesses may have to be curtailed again.
Technology companies, which have been leading the market higher as it bounced back from a plunge in March, accounted for the biggest slice of the market's pullback. Financial, health care, communication services and industrial sector stocks also took heavy losses. Energy stocks were down the most as the price of oil dropped sharply.
Cruise lines, which would stand to suffer greatly if travel restrictions are extended, were among the biggest losers in the S&P 500. Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruises were each down more than 10 per cent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 652 points, or 2.5 per cent to 25,504. The Nasdaq, which was coming off its second all-time high this week, was down 2 per cent.
The market has been mostly in rally mode since April as investors focused on the prospects for an economic turnaround as broad areas of the economy reopened. Recently, some encouraging economic reports have fuelled optimism that the reopening of businesses in the US and elsewhere could pull the economy out of a deep recession sooner rather than later.
But the recent surge in new infections is undercutting some of that optimism. Coronavirus hospitalisations and caseloads have hit new highs in more than six US states. New cases across America are back near their peak level of two months ago.
Originally published as Airbnb boss says 'travel is over' as markets dive