Airbnb seeks to provide free housing to 100,000 healthcare professionals
Short-stay accommodation provider in touch with Irish Government about new initiative
Airbnb ookings have nose-dived in Ireland in recent weeks, following the coronavirus outbreak, with many hosts moving to rent out properties instead.
Airbnb is hoping to persuade hosts to house 100,000 healthcare professionals and frontline workers across the world for free during the Covid-19 crisis.
It is believed the Government has been informed about the new initiative, with Airbnb keen to work with it to support efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak locally.
The short-stay accommodation provider has launched a new platform to encourage hosts who would usually be providing a place to stay to tourists and business travellers to offer their homes for free to accommodate those working to combat Covid-19.
Airbnb said it will waive its usual fees for hosts and will subsidise charges for those are not able to provide accommodation for free.
The company said it is working with government, businesses and agencies such as the Red Cross to support healthcare professionals and other frontline workers.
The new platform follows in the wake of similar initiatives in Italy and France, where more than 6,000 homes have been offered for free by local Airbnb hosts.
Airbnb co-founder and chief executive Brian Cesky tweeted that over 1,500 hosts had already agreed offered up accommodation within two hours of the new platform going live on Thursday.
The company said it was also establishing a fund for those who want to make donations, with 100 per cent of all proceeds going to non-profits working on Covid-19 relief.
About 1.8 million visitors stayed in accommodation listed on the Airbnb site in Ireland in 2018. Bookings have nose-dived in recent weeks however, following the coronavirus outbreak, with many hosts moving to rent out properties instead.