Airbnb to close in China amid repeated Covid lockdowns
  • 25 May 2022

  • By, Tourism Listing

Airbnb to close in China amid repeated Covid lockdowns

On Tuesday Airbnb told its China-based users it would cease taking all bookings for accommodation and experiences in China from 30 July. The ability to book for dates beyond 29 July was suspended on Tuesday morning, according to screenshots of the Airbnb notice shared across Chinese social media. An attempt by the Guardian to make bookings from outside China after that date produced an error message.

As a wave of Omicron cases has spread across China, the government has doubled down on its policy of eliminating Covid-19. Major cities including Shanghai and Beijing have been subjected to city-wide or localised lockdowns, and there are widespread travel restrictions between cities and provinces.

The accommodation provider has operated inside China since 2016 with domestic listings across the country. In that time about 25 million guests have made bookings, according to the company, but it is costly and complex to operate and faces strong local competition. The revenue from China-based stays account for approximately 1% of global takings, the source told the Guardian, and Covid-19 has worsened the issues and heightened their impact.

The company declined to comment further on the record.

Chinese residents face heavy restrictions on international travel, which has affected the global tourism industry. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of Chinese tourists travelling overseas nearly tripled to 155 million.

The company said trends of people booking stays away from urban areas and staying relatively close to home continued, but guests were also returning to cities and making cross-border trips.

Additional reporting by Xiaoqian Zhu