Airbnb files for initial public offering

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SAN FRANCISCO – Home-sharing startup on Wednesday (AUg 19) said it has confidentially filed with US regulators for an .

The number of shares and price has yet to be determined, according to the San Francisco-based company.

The move comes as the travel industry suffers an economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic amid slowdowns in tourism.

Airbnb in June nonetheless said it had seen a “bounce” in bookings as the platform unveiled an initiative to promote short-range travel as pandemic restrictions ease.

“The travel industry, including Airbnb has been hit hard by Covid-19 and there will continue to be tremendous uncertainty,” the company said in a blog post.

“But, our booking data shows that travel is beginning to bounce back.”

The home-sharing platform said it is riding a day-tripping trend by partnering with local organisations and tourist bodies around the world including the US National Park Foundation and the French Association of Rural Mayors.

“Tapping into the demand for nearby trips, we are updating our app and homepage to help guests rediscover the magic in their own backyards by making it easier to book local travel, including at the last-minute,” the company said.

Airbnb said it is working with local authorities, charities and tourist agencies to entice potential visitors and stimulate economic activity.

Earlier this year, the company slashed one fourth of its workforce – some 1,900 people – as the coronavirus pandemic crushed the travel industry.

The cuts were needed for the company to survive until people start travelling again, Airbnb co-founder and chief executive Brian Chesky said in a blog post at the time.

The company recently announced new cleaning “protocols” to reassure travellers.

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