June 12, 2020 / 10:25 PM / a month ago

Airbnb partners with Brazil virus hotspot Sao Paulo on post-pandemic tourism

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Home rental firm Airbnb struck a partnership with Brazil’s Sao Paulo state to encourage tourism once the novel coronavirus crisis has passed, a company executive said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks inside Cidade Sao Paulo shopping mall, as malls reopen amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 11, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

Virus hotspot Sao Paulo is the first destination in Latin America chosen by Airbnb as part of a global push to revive its business as authorities ease coronavirus-related restrictions on tourism.

“Sao Paulo state is at the core of our Brazil strategy and originates many travelers,” Airbnb’s director of governmental and institutional relations for Latin America, Flávia Matos, told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

Airbnb will have an exclusive page on Sao Paulo state’s destinations in its platform and will also share with the local government data and information on what is happening elsewhere in the globe.

“It is likely that most travels will be made by car once the state economy reopens and our platform will provide users with all domestic options available,” Matos said.

In 2019, Airbnb has had an economic impact of 10.5 billion reais ($2.08 billion) in Brazil, including the entire chain such as restaurants and shops. The company does not break down Sao Paulo numbers.

Brazil’s death toll from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, overtook Britain’s on Friday to become the second highest in the world after the United States, according to numbers released by the Brazilian Health Ministry.

Brazil has 828,810 confirmed cases with 25,982 new infections in the last 24 hours, and 909 more fatalities, raising the death toll to 41,828.

Early in May, Airbnb announced it would lay off nearly 1,900 employees, or 25% of its workforce, after the coronavirus pandemic led millions of customers to cancel travel plans, hitting the company’s revenue.

($1 = 5.0511 reais)

Reporting by Gabriela Mello; editing by Grant McCool

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