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TripAdvisor CEO Says Safety Most Important Factor

The chief executive officer of TripAdvisor says “nine out of ten” people are primarily concerned about their health when thinking about their future travel plans. However, when the website asked partners to share their COVID-19 response plan, less than one percent have shared their details.

As flyers start making their plans to travel once more, the biggest concern they could face isn’t regarding prices or destinations, but about their health. In an interview on CBS Face the Nation, TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer said travelers are primarily worried about their wellbeing.

“Nine out of 10 said safety is the most important thing they are looking for.”

During the brief interview with moderator Margaret Brennan, Kaufer pointed out two key concerns within the travel world. From the business side, the executive noted that government action at the federal and state levels to control the spread of novel Coronavirus is the first step towards re-opening travel. On the other side, travelers need to feel like their safety is the primary concern of their airlines, hotels and restaurants.

“We asked hundreds or thousands of people,” Kaufer said during his appearance on Face the Nation. “And they said, nine out of 10 said, safety is the most important thing that that they are looking for when planning this next trip.”

To those ends, TripAdvisor announced an initiative to help travelers feel secure. The company asked all the businesses on their platform to share “…everything that you as an individual business are doing to keep your guest safe.”

The program was launched the week of June 29, 2020, and according to Kaufer nearly 50,000 businesses have shared information about their safety plans. But the current response rate only reflects 0.06 percent of the estimated 8 million businesses currently listed on the TripAdvisor website.

Kaufer Backs Airline Face Mask Policies, Not Impressed with the TRIP Act.

When asked about his opinion on the proposed TRIP Act, which would give qualifying Americans a tax credit for taking a vacation, Kaufer did not offer a direct comment. Instead, he noted that the best thing the government could do to help the travel sector is control and eradicate COVID-19.

“I think everyone in the travel industry is really, really concerned about this slip backwards that we’ve now seen the US and what’s best for the travel industry, at least my opinion, is really getting the pandemic under control,” Kaufer said on Face the Nation. “And that isn’t about a tax credit for someone to take a vacation.”

On the health of America’s aviation industry and their recovery, Kaufman was much more optimistic. He noted that the United States should follow the lead of international communities and focus on lowering the curve.

“I don’t think they [the federal government] are worried about airlines going bankrupt, but they remain concerned about their health,” said Kaufer. “And to the degree that the whole country can come together, as much of Europe has done, and really take a concerted effort to treat everyone safe- doing everything they can to make sure everyone feels safe when they travel.”

Would Kaufer wear a mask while he flies? The travel executive backed the use of face coverings during flights, noting that it would make him feel safe if everyone were to use one.

“I’m personally less worried about getting on an airplane if I have a mask and I know every other passenger is wearing their masks,” said Kaufer. “So again, with government recommendations, with our president, with all of the national leaders saying this is what every American of every political persuasion should be doing, I think that would go a tremendous way to really helping to…start the downward trend in cases.”

Feature image courtesy: Getty Images