Oyo layoffs, Airbnb’s delayed IPO and the long-term quandary of investing in travel startups

It’s the best and worst of times for travel startups.

Massive growth over the past few decades has made tourism one of the big global industries, covering everything from recreation to business conferences to shopping sprees.

But doubts about the future of the industry are growing — and not just because of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. The rise of remote work and the increasing stresses from tourism on urban and environmental systems portends tougher times ahead.

Given the spate of bad news the past few weeks swirling around global tourism startups, I wanted to go over where we are and what the future holds — and why that’s going to be so challenging for startups in this space.