Israel: With tourism on hiatus for the time being, landlords in Tel Aviv are searching for alternatives to Airbnb.
Analysts focusing on the rental market in the city have noted a rise in apartments listed for rental in the city, notably those which had previously served as Airbnbs.
Nir Chen, analyst for online classified market Yad2, said: “We believe that many Airbnb apartments that were meant for internal and external tourists have been converted to rental apartments. A steep rise in Tel Aviv is visible, and the reason is obvious – the coronavirus.”
The virus’ outbreak spells trouble for the Israeli hospitality industry. The government is ordering businesses to cut off bookings in all cases, which is especially troublesome because of the upcoming Easter and Passover holidays.
Samuel Green, a Tel Aviv tour guide form London, said: “This is far worse than times of difficult security situations, when people still come. Now people can’t come if they want to.
“It’s a complete cutoff of incoming tourism,” he added.
Because of this shift away from tourism, landlords who had previously advertised on Airbnb must seek alternatives. Some have shifted to traditional apartments, though those within the industry have noted that this may create further losses.
Others have begun to target an internal market, seeking those who wish to self-isolate away from their families. Facebook groups such as “You Are Not Alone- Apartments for Isolation all over Israel” are offering properties specifically for isolating,
Like a Local CEO Omri Sergev said: “We’re trying to make lemonade out of this lemon. We’ve been stuck with properties, and we’re trying to give good service to people who have to be in isolation.”
Most families must book directly though, as platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com are less busy and less suited for this new business. Airbnb has moved to offer full refunds to those affected by the virus.