The economic slowdown resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic has been a crippling blow to the hospitality and travel industries.  But that could ultimately be a boon for housing affordability in certain tourist hotspots, according to Fast Company magazine.

"As the coronavirus pandemic has spread around the world, travel has come to a record halt, striking the entire hospitality industry, including big hotel brands and major commercial Airbnb landlords who have been forced to lay off or furlough staff.

As for how online vacation rentals will fare in the long-term, experts say the shutdown has raised questions that are still too early to answer. The pandemic may change housing supply in cities and vacation towns where activists say Airbnbs have depleted a limited housing pool, driving up rental prices. Some activists are already seeing conversions to longer term rentals, though the ultimate impact remains unclear. But in the short-term, the crisis may be a particular shock to individual hosts who use money from short-term rentals to attend school, fund startup businesses, or simply pay living expenses."

In Los Angeles, which is the state's largest vacation rental market, platforms such as AirBnB have been blamed for exacerbating an existing housing shortage.  The Westside neighborhood of Venice, which is a tourist hub despite having few hotel rooms, has seen thousands of full apartments and single-family dwellings listed as short-term rentals.

The debate came to a head in Fall 2019, when Los Angeles officials enacted new regulations on short-term rentals, establishing a fee and fine structure for hosts.