Before the pandemic, Chinese travellers heading abroad had tripled in less than a decade, reaching 155 million journeys in 2019, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. But since 2020, China has had some of the toughest Covid restrictions in the world, making travel into and around the country extremely difficult.
Airbnb set up its business in China in 2016. Since then, some 25 million guests have booked stays there through the online home rental company. But a source familiar with the company's decision said the domestic rental operation for travellers visiting China had been complicated and expensive to run even before the pandemic.