Americans Shun Southern Hot Spots This Summer: TripAdvisor CEO


Americans are starting to avoid popular southern beach destinations this summer amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Sun Belt states, said Stephen Kaufer, chief executive officer of TripAdvisor Inc.

“You look at the top searches and I think five or six of the top 10 a couple of weeks ago were all wonderful southern beaches,” Kaufer said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, pointing to states such as Texas and Florida. “But that switched. Everyone’s moving essentially up north, away from all these hot spots.”

Chicago, Las Vegas and Honolulu took over the top three trending destinations based on searches on TripAdvisor in the week of June 28. A week earlier, Miami Beach, San Diego and Key West, Florida, held the top spots.

Americans Shun Southern Hot Spots This Summer: TripAdvisor CEO

Even New York City, the epicenter of the initial wave of the outbreak in the country, gained popularity as the number of new cases there stayed low. The Big Apple joined the Top 10 U.S. destinations searched in the week of June 28, and outranked almost all Florida and California cities.

Still, traveling to these destinations may not be easy. Hawaii will require out-of-state travelers to get a Covid-19 test done prior their arrival to avoid a 14-day self-isolation. The program starts Aug. 1 as the tourism-dependent state tries to kick its economy into care.

The New York tri-state area doubled the quarantine list to include 16 states from which visitors are currently unwelcome. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants anyone traveling to the city from 15 states seeing Covid-19 surges to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Florida appears to have missed out the most in this vacation season, based on TripAdvisor’s ranking. This coincides with a decline in flight search interest for the Sunshine State, where seven of its cities made the top 10 registering the biggest drop in flight searches by U.S. consumers.

The searches fell about 30% week-over-week, according to data by The state reported another record daily increase in virus infections on Friday, a sign that the outbreak is expanding and leading to more serious clinical consequences.

American travelers aren’t worried about airlines going bankrupt, but safety is their top priority, Kaufer added. “Everyone in the travel industry is really, really concerned about this slip backwards that we’ve now seen the U.S.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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