Travel industry to be “most dislocated” by crisis, says Booking.com CEO
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When the COVID-19 outbreak halted the Chinese economy in January, travel companies saw a glimpse of what was coming for the rest of the world.
The coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to corporate travel, and many summer vacations have been canceled — and it could take years for demand to recover. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke about this with Glenn Fogel, the CEO of Booking.com and its parent company, Booking Holdings, which owns travel sites like Priceline and Kayak as well as the restaurant-reservation service OpenTable.
“There obviously are going to be significant changes to many companies and industries, and the travel industry is probably the one that’s going to be most dislocated,” Fogel said.
As the travel industry adjusts to collapsing demand, the group’s total number of bookings has declined more than 50% since this time last year, sparking layoffs and furloughs of hundreds of employees. Fogel called for further government aid to help the small businesses that depend on travel and tourism.
“Let us all spend whatever it takes to win this war. And this war is not just coming out with a vaccine, it’s winning the financial war,” Fogel said. “So we have an economy that people can grow and develop their futures in.”
Fogel, who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in March, has since recovered and believes that until there’s a vaccine, travelers will “feel fearful and not want to get on a plane.”
Click the audio player above to hear the interview.
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