Airbnb issued a statement last night announcing that the online lodging and tourism platform has banned users in Russia and Belarus from using its services.
“Guests globally will no longer be able to make new reservations for stays or Experiences in Russia or Belarus,” Airbnb said in a statement, adding that “Guests located in Russia or Belarus will not be able to make new reservations on Airbnb.”
The statement also announced that all reservations in Russia and Belarus, starting on or after April 4, have been canceled.
Airbnb specified the ban applies only to Russia and Belarus residents; not to Russian and Belarusian nationals living abroad.
“We announced the suspension of operations in Russia and Belarus, and the key point from this announcement is ‘in’ not ‘from’,” an Airbnb spokesperson said, clarifying that the “rumor” of Airbnb banning all Russian and Belarusian nationals is unfounded.
The company had previously flagged its inability to process transactions affiliated with certain financial institutions in Russia and Belarus due to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow.
With its latest announcement, Airbnb is joining an array of Western corporate shutdowns in Russia and Belarus, triggered by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Apparently, Airbnb is not planning to refund paid bills for accommodation. Money that was spent on bookings after the April 4 date will be converted into bonuses. It is not clear though how those bonuses could be used, as the service is no longer available.
In March, another major global travel services provider, Booking.com, also terminated activities in Russia and Belarus.
It has stopped displays on its site of hotels, guest houses, and hostels in the countries’ territories.
“With each passing day, as the urgency of this devastating war in Ukraine intensifies, so do the complexities of doing business in the region,” Booking CEO Glenn Fogel wrote in a LinkedIn post.