Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Kimberly White/Getty Images for Fortune, and Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky told Axios in an interview that global travel may never fully recover, and that he sees a future where people travel much more within their own countries, possibly for longer stays.

Driving the news: "I will go on the record to say that travel will never, ever go back to the way it was pre-COVID; it just won't," Chesky told us by Zoom from his home in San Francisco. "There are sometimes months when decades of transformation happen."

Chesky, who said travel has changed more tectonically than during the Great Recession of 2008, said Airbnb data shows these trends:

  • "People are not getting on airplanes, they're not crossing borders, they're not meaningfully traveling to cities, they're not traveling for business."
  • "They're getting in cars. They're traveling to communities that are 200 miles away or less. These are usually very small communities. They're staying in homes and they're staying longer."

Airbnb says business within countries has recovered to previous levels. But international travel remains off in a way that's devastating to the platform.

  • 'People will, one day, get back on planes," Chesky said. "But one of the things that I do think is a fairly permanent shift is ... a redistribution of where travelers go."
  • In the past, with what he called "mass tourism," travelers limited themselves "to like 50 or 100 cities. You know, everyone goes to Rome, Paris, London, they stay in the hotel district, they get on the double-decker bus. They wait in line to get a selfie in front of a landmark."
  • "I think that's going to get smaller as a percentage of travel in the future, and I think it's going to get somewhat displaced, or at least balanced, by people visiting smaller communities."

Chesky said he sees a potential boom for National Parks.

  • "Most people haven't gone to them," he said. "And it's pretty cheap ... You don't need to buy an airplane ticket. You can usually drive because most people live within 200 miles of a park."
  • "So, I think you're going to start to see travel becoming more intimate, more local, to smaller communities."

Chesky said he thinks business and convention travel will hurt for some time.

  • "I think a lot of people are going to realize they don't need to get on an airplane to have a meeting. I mean, I met you in an office, but now we're on Zoom."

Go deeper

Updated Jun 26, 2020 - World

EU prepares to ban American travelers as borders reopen on July 1

French President Macron (L), Trump and German Chancellor Merkel. Photo: Christian Hartmann/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The European Union is preparing to ban American travelers from entering the bloc when it reopens its borders to the outside world starting July 1, labeling the U.S. along with Russia and Brazil for their failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's an international rebuke of the Trump administration's handling of the pandemic. Millions of American tourists travel to the EU every summer, but that's unlikely to happen until the U.S. gets the virus under control.

Jun 27, 2020 - Health

AP: Tourism boards encourage travelers to stay away during pandemic

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Some state and city tourism officials have rearranged their summer marketing plans to keep potential visitors away as the coronavirus pandemic persists, AP reports.

The big picture: Overall travel spending in the U.S. is expected to drop by 45% by the end of 2020, according to the U.S. Travel Association's June forecast. A $389 billion loss in spending for domestic travel compared to last year is expected.

Pence's campaign appearances in Arizona and Florida delayed due to coronavirus

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Vice President Mike Pence's planned campaign appearances in Arizona and Florida have been postponed due to rising novel coronavirus infections in both states, NBC News first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: NIAID director Anthony Fauci expressed concern this week about coronavirus surges in Arizona, Texas and Florida.