Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s Country Manager for Australia, has warned Australians to strictly follow guidance from local authorities and avoid unnecessary travel, particularly leisure travel to regional areas this Easter.
Additionally, Airbnb is contacting its Australian community of hosts and guests to remind them of the importance of adhering to this crucial advice. This advice includes a warning that guests in certain states could face imprisonment or hefty fines for breaking travel rules.
“This is an incredibly challenging time for all Australians and we’re calling on both guests and hosts on our platform to play a positive role in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Ms Wheeldon said.
“That means closely following health and travel guidance from local authorities, especially when it comes to strictly limiting movements to essential travel only. We look forward to some day soon being able to get travellers out and about so they can help local economies recover – but for now, it’s important people avoid leisure trips and travel only for essential purposes.”
Airbnb has also been actively discouraging hosts from inappropriately marketing listings using terms related to COVID-19, such as ‘quarantine’. These hosts are being asked to update their listings accordingly and Airbnb may suspend or remove listings that have inappropriate titles or listing content. This is to help remind hosts not to allow bookings for purposes against our policies.
Ms Wheeldon added: “We continue to see people turning to Airbnb during times of genuine need. From healthcare and relief workers who need to be closer to work as they combat COVID-19, tourists who find themselves stranded in Australia through no fault of their own, students who have traditionally stayed with hosts on Airbnb, those who are between permanent residences or cannot commit to long-term leases due to economic uncertainty, to those who have been forced to secure alternative accommodation for compassionate or emergency reasons.
“These are just some of the many essential reasons people are currently using short-term rental accommodation during this challenging time.”
The Airbnb host community has recently shown its commitment to supporting COVID-19 response efforts, including through offering accommodation to relief and medical workers. Other hosts are helping disrupted travelers and people with specific accommodation needs during this challenging time.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and Airbnb is studying it closely as its top priority is protecting the health and safety of the community. To protect the safety of hosts and the community, Airbnb does not support certain reservations, including requests from users who are showing symptoms of a contagious disease and seeking a space, or who are suspected of having a contagious disease and are awaiting test results to confirm a diagnosis.
Airbnb has also announced it is working with experts to continuously enhance our approach, including Dr. Larry Brilliant, a renowned epidemiologist and Chair of Ending Pandemics.
We continue to encourage responsible hosting practices, such as those detailed in our recently updated cleaning guidelines.