Travel could be rebounding in a significant way as the world emerges from COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions. This claim has been made by online rental marketplace and travel company Airbnb as the firm announced its predictions for 2021.
Though Airbnb has said it was “too early” to predict how the business would fare in 2021, it has offered insights into their expectations for the travel and tourism industry going forwards post-pandemic.
Among their expectations, their chief executive, Brian Chesky, stated that Airbnb was optimistic that the rental of private homes for holidays going forward will be far more appealing for people going on holiday or visiting family and friends.
Chesky also noted that the ability for remote working will also allow people to take more frequent weekend trips – or even spend several months away from home.
“We don’t think we’re ever going to go back to travel in 2019. It’s going to change and it’s going to be different.”
Airbnb is active in 220 countries, including Malta. In 2020, Europe was considered the worst-hit region for Airbnb as cross-border travel was the main contributor to the usage of their service.
Yet, as vaccine rollouts are underway across Europe and the rest of the world, analysts such as Angelo Zino, an equity analyst at CFRA, predict that Airbnb’s revenue will come “roaring back” by summer, reflecting the sheer demand for travel.
In Malta, Airbnb has 8,761 properties listed as of May 2019. Throughout the pandemic, rental companies like this have flooded the housing markets. This further increases the supply of available houses for rent at a short-term level.
According to a study by the Central Bank of Malta, real house prices could rise by 2.8% in the long-term due to a significant rise in housing available for short-term rent only. This not only affects housing though, but it also affects hotels and other forms of accommodation.
As a consequence of this, despite real house prices rising, rental prices would be expected to decrease in the long term once the supply meets the demand for rental housing and housing in general.
Pre-pandemic, there were rumblings of regulation on short-term property rentals. This has culminated in the European Court of Justice backing a French law that requires municipal authorisation for short-term property rentals by platforms like Airbnb.
This move sets up the potential for other European cities, and potentially even entire nations, to open up similar regulations to prevent such increases in house prices. Currently, there is no indication that Malta may take similar action.
What do you think of Airbnb’s predictions? Let us know