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Airbnb sees surging demand for short trips

Zhu Shenshen
Accommodation provider says it will continue to invest in China as it predicts good business during the Labor Day holiday in May and throughout the summer. 
Zhu Shenshen

The demand for short distance and self-driving trips is expected to surge in China as the country gradually restarts its tourism industry, Airbnb said on Friday. 

Trips within 160 kilometers or three hours’ driving will be popular during the Labor Day holiday in May and in summer after the COVID-19 situation is controlled, the company said during an online conference held on Friday.

“The tourism industry, contributing a lot to GDP and jobs, will recover in China,” said Peng Tao, Airbnb China president, who also said that the company would continue to invest in China.

About 72 percent of house owners in China will keep their rooms on Airbnb or even add new rooms this year, according to a recent Airbnb survey. The company offers homestay accommodation worldwide. 

There has been an increase in long-term deals, for guests staying for a week or a month. 

During the pandemic, some Airbnb rooms have been offered to medical staff and volunteers for periods of several weeks. 

Airbnb has a 70 million yuan (US$10 million) fund to help house owners through service fee exemptions, online resources and training programs. 

After the pandemic, the top domestic destination cities will be Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, the company said, with the top picks of communities in the mainland including Shanghai’s Huaihai Road and Xintiandi (No.1) and Hengshan Road (No. 5), according to Airbnb. 

Shanghai reopened its parks, museums and shopping centers recently, a sign that life is returning to normal. 

China’s sharing accommodation market revenue reached 22.5 billion yuan in 2019, a 36 percent growth year on year, according to industry figures. 

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