Booking Holdings CEO Endorses Vaccine Passports, Says Makes Travel Safer


As more people are immunized against the coronavirus, so-called vaccine passports would make it safer for people to travel, according to Glenn Fogel, chief executive of travel company Booking Holdings.

“I’m not sure why people still oppose it, in terms of making it safer for people to travel,” Fogel said in an interview on CNBC’s “The Exchange.”

The Biden administration has indicated that it wants to put in place a system to provide documentation of a person’s vaccination status, which can help make it easier to know who is protected against the virus and who is not, but it is unclear how it will develop. Several airlines have also expressed support for vaccine documentation.

However, there are critics of vaccine passports for various reasons, ranging from privacy concerns to scientific reasons to fairness issues.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccinated people have a “low risk” of traveling.

Fogel said he would like vaccinated people to start traveling again.

“The industry has been so devastated, travel has been so affected by this terrible and tragic crisis, and we need everything you can help us achieve. [the travel industry] goes and lets people travel, because [the vaccines] they are absolutely tested to be safe. “

Booking Holdings owns brands such as Kayak, Agoda, Booking.com, Priceline.com, and OpenTable.

“The idea of ​​a Covid passport that says you are fully vaccinated [means] if you’re a safe traveler, you can go places other people might not be able to go, “Fogel said.

On Monday, the company offered a $ 50 post-trip credit for travelers who book a trip for the end of May and travel before the end of the year. The company also offers greater flexibility to cancel travel plans if necessary. The promotion aims to get people to start booking summer trips.

“We are seeing that prices also begin to rise, which of course is the demand assumption, that is why I continue to defend [people to] Get out, see what you want, go get it now, “Fogel said.

Increasing vaccination rates will also help. Since distribution of the coronavirus vaccine began in December, more than 165 million doses have been administered to people in the United States, according to the CDC.

For now, Americans may feel more comfortable traveling within the United States due to different Covid restrictions, he said. According to a Booking.com survey, 69% of people said they would prefer to travel closer to home for the foreseeable future.

“There won’t be a lot of international travel,” he said. “In terms of people staying close to home, there is certainly still that feeling of uncertainty and wanting to be close to home, but I think that will spread and as people feel more confident to travel, they will start to realize longer trips. “

Shares of Booking Holdings closed Monday up 1.1% at $ 2,409.18.

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