Plaid Cymru has today welcomed Airbnb’s decision to stop taking bookings that start on or before April 18, in response to pressure by Plaid Cymru and others.

In a letter to Hywel Williams MP, the holiday let booking site has said that “from 9am today it will not be possible to book a stay on Airbnb in the United Kingdom during the current lockdown period.”

It has also restricted lettings including the terms ‘COVID’ ‘coronavirus’ and ‘quarantine’ following a letter by Hywel Williams MP on behalf of Plaid Cymru on 7 April.

Hywel Williams MP said:

“While long overdue, I welcome Airbnb’s decision to stop taking bookings from today. We know that staying at home is the best defence against Coronavirus, so this announcement will undoubtedly save many lives.

“I also welcome their decision to prohibit listing titles that reference ‘COVID’, ‘coronavirus’ or ‘quarantine’, which Plaid Cymru had called for in our letter.

“Many owners had been recklessly advertising properties in rural Wales as ‘safe retreats’ from the virus, putting additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk. Now, Airbnb must now permanently exclude listings from owners who continue to flout the rules.

“Plaid Cymru is also today calling on Airbnb to go a step further and do the right thing by immediately cancelling all bookings, including those booked for Easter weekend. If not, I fear we will see thousands more avoidable infections in rural Wales.”