Booking.com CEO Says People Will Vacation Close to Home This Summer

Jun.10 -- Andy Browne, editorial director of Bloomberg New Economy talks with Glenn Fogel, president and CEO at Booking Holdings and CEO of Booking.com. about the trends he's seeing in the travel industry as the world slowly starts to open up after Covid-19 lockdowns. New Economy Conversations is a series of discussions with business leaders about the key decisions they're making as the coronavirus pandemic brings large parts of the global economy to a stand still.

More From

  • How the Creek Nation Finally Prevailed in Oklahoma

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- In a fitting coda to the blockbuster Supreme Court term that ended yesterday, the court decided a major American Indian law case, one that matters for our historical moment of considering systemic racism and the question of reparations. In a 5-4 decision, Justice Neil Gorsuch and the court’s four liberals held that much of the eastern part of the state of Oklahoma remains, legally speaking, a Creek reservation, pursuant to treaties made between the United States and the Creek Nation in the 19th century.In practice, this means primarily that American Indians charged with crimes committed in this area will have to be prosecuted in federal or tribal courts, rather than Oklahoma courts. Some existing criminal convictions may have to be overturned, and some prisoners may be able to get off death row.The symbolic significance of the decision, however, goes much further. In his opinion, Gorsuch made a point of emphasizing that government of the United States must keep the promises it has made — and too often broken — to indigenous tribes throughout its history. His opinion began with the sentence, “at the end of the Trail of Tears was a promise,” the promise of reservation land for the Creek Nation. Although it is “clear that Congress has since broken more than a few of his promises to the tribe,” he wrote, nonetheless the promise of the reservation remained in place. Thus, Gorsuch concluded, “We hold the government to its word.”If this attitude of acknowledging broken promises and fulfilling them were to be adopted by the courts, not to mention by the American public, it would go a long way toward repairing the nearly unimaginable wrongs done to the first peoples of the North American continent over the centuries.The essence of the opinion was to show that, in treaties concluded in 1833 in 1866, the U.S. government promised the Creek a reservation on the land currently disputed. As a matter of domestic U.S. law, Congress has the power to break the treaties it made. (Yes, I know that sounds horrible. It is.)Nevertheless, Gorsuch went through the text of all of the statutes passed by Congress in connection to the Creek Nation and showed that none of them openly breached the treaty promise of the reservation.Of particular interest was Gorsuch’s historically nuanced analysis of the historical era known as the allotment period. During that time, the federal government tried to break up reservations by getting tribes to “allot” individual plots of reservation land to tribe members, who were then frequently encouraged to sell off the land to white purchasers. Those efforts failed to convince the Creek Nation to give up its reservation rights, Gorsuch concluded.Gorsuch’s opinion relied on the jurisprudential theory known as textualism — the same theory Gorsuch used to conclude that Title VII’s ban on employment discrimination because of sex applies to LGBTQ people. This marks the second time this term that the conservative Gorsuch has taken textualism in an ostensibly liberal direction. Both times he was joined by all the court’s liberals, who are more than willing to adopt this approach to statutory interpretation when it produces outcomes they consider just.Chief Justice John Roberts joined Gorsuch’s Title VII opinion. But he dissented in the Creek Nation case, joined by the remaining three conservatives. Indeed, this is the only important decision of the entire year in which the nearly all-powerful chief justice was in the minority.Roberts’s reasoning was telling. He’s deeply committed to precedent, as demonstrated by his opinion this term upholding abortion rights on the basis of respecting the doctrine of stare decisis. Roberts wrote that the Gorsuch decision would upset “a century of settled understanding.” Repeatedly he denounced the opinion for ignoring precedent and altering existing legal relations.Gorsuch, who was with the conservatives in the abortion decision, has very little interest in precedent. The only justice who cares less about it is Justice Clarence Thomas, whose absolutist originalism frankly rejects the idea that precedent has any weight when the Supreme Court has gotten it wrong in the past.In the Creek Nation case, Gorsuch’s willingness to ignore precedent in favor of the statutory text produced dividends for American Indians.Beyond the question of textualism, however, it is possible to discern in Gorsuch’s opinion some actual moral commitment to the idea that the U.S. government should be “held to its word” in its dealings with sovereign American Indian tribes. He characterized the argument on the other side as, “Yes, promises were made, but the price of keeping them has become too great, so now we should just cast a blind eye.” In response, Gorsuch made clear that “we reject that thinking.” To decide the case against the Creek Nation, Gorsuch concluded, would be to “elevate the most brazen and long-standing injustices over the law, both rewarding wrong and failing those in the right.”That’s a lesson we could all do with hearing from the justices — no matter who appointed them.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Feldman is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and host of the podcast “Deep Background.” He is a professor of law at Harvard University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. His books include “The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President.” For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • One Tool to Cut Racism in Policing: Traffic Cameras

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Speed cameras made their U.S. debut in 1986 in Galveston County, Texas. The Swiss-made devices, dubbed “PhotoCops” by the local company that lent them to police departments in exchange for a cut of the ticket revenue, seem to have been successful at reducing speeding. But law enforcement officials for the county and the Galveston suburb of La Marque decided after less than two years of experimentation that the cameras weren’t worth the bother, citing gripes from motorists and difficulties in getting violators to pay.“If you got a letter in the mail a month after you drove down some highway, saying that you were going 68 and send $60, what would you do?” Galveston County Constable Paul Bess told the Los Angeles Times in 1987. “A lot paid, but a lot ignored it.”This experience didn’t dissuade the wealthy Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley from getting its own PhotoCops that year, and it has kept using traffic enforcement cameras ever since. So has New York City, which installed its first red-light cameras in 1992 and is now expanding its camera network to more than 2,000 devices.Most of the country, though, has come to share Galveston County’s distrust. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has become a big fan of speed cameras — but the NHTSA doesn’t make traffic laws; state and local governments do. Only 153 jurisdictions in 17 states(1) now use speed cameras, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with almost a third of those in one state, Maryland. That is at least up from 111 in 2012, but the larger group of jurisdictions that use red-light cameras has shrunk from 556 in 2012 to 340 this year. Thirteen states have partially or completely outlawed the use of speed cameras, and eight don’t allow red-light cameras. In Texas, where it all began, the state legislature banned speed cameras in 2007 and red-light cameras last year.In Europe, where traffic cameras were introduced in the 1960s by the Dutch company Gatso (now part of Sensys Gatso Group AB of Jönköping, Sweden) and began to be used on a large scale in the early 1990s, the experience has been much different. Speed cameras and red-light cameras are now ubiquitous and widely accepted — in the U.K., for example, “getting Gatsoed” has become part of the vocabulary, and surveys show that nearly two-thirds of adults think the cameras are a good idea. Not coincidentally, roads have also gotten much safer. Traffic fatalities are down in the U.S. too, but the trajectory of improvement has been sharper in countries with more widespread adoption of speed cameras. In the 1990s, the U.S. was in the middle of pack as far as road safety. Now it’s starting to look like an outlier, and not in a good way.Lots of more carefully constructed studies point to similar conclusions. A 2010 review of the 28 available studies of the effect of speed cameras reported that every one found a reduction in accidents near the cameras, with declines in serious accidents in wider surrounding areas ranging from 17% to 58%, and a 2016 update found similar if somewhat smaller effects. With red-light cameras there’s at least one contrary indicator — they may lead to more rear-end collisions — but the preponderance of evidence appears to show them to be effective in reducing red-light running and the resulting serious accidents.Now there’s another reason to favor them. As transportation journalist Aaron Gordon wrote in Vice last month:Any effort to eliminate racism in American policing must figure out what to do about traffic enforcement, which is the leading cause of interactions between police and the public, according to the Department of Justice. And, by law, it is almost entirely up to the officer whether to let the person go with a warning, give them a ticket, ask to search their vehicle, or escalate the situation even further. It is an interaction intentionally designed to let the officer do virtually whatever he or she wants, reflecting the inherent biases of our legal system.There’s lots of evidence that law enforcement traffic stops disproportionately target Black motorists, and not a whole lot of counter-evidence (although there is some). Even after controlling for multiple possible confounding factors, the bias seems to persist. Perhaps most tellingly, it is less apparent at night, when it’s harder to see what drivers look like. In 2016, South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott, a conservative Black Republican not exactly known as a critic of law enforcement, described how earlier in his political career he had been pulled over seven times in a single year, usually for “nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial.”More-widespread use of speed and red-light cameras wouldn’t eliminate this practice, as there would still be lots of other reasons to pull over drivers. But it would surely reduce its incidence. It would also result in more consistent, fair and comprehensive enforcement of traffic laws.It is this last consequence that seems to generate most of the political resistance to traffic cameras. A 2011 poll by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found big majorities in 14 cities with traffic cameras supporting their use, but this support is often tepid while the opposition can be quite vociferous. The most vocal opponents are often, as Streetsblog recently documented with regard to the New York City borough of Staten Island, people who’ve gotten lots of tickets. Since traffic laws are set by local and state officials usually chosen in low-turnout elections, a little vocal opposition can go a long way. To a remarkable extent, the rules surrounding traffic cameras in the U.S. are thus being determined by repeat lawbreakers.People in law enforcement also seem less than enthusiastic about automated tickets. The loss of discretion is surely one reason — nobody likes seeing their decision-making powers taken away — but as the quote from the Galveston County constable near the beginning of this column indicates, there is also a sense that tickets-by-mail are less effective. The overwhelming statistical evidence on reduced accidents near speed cameras would seem to refute this, but there are admittedly some complications on the enforcement side, such as the fact that speed cameras can identify the car but not necessarily the person driving it. Still, a commitment to following through on enforcement may make a big difference. In New York City, it has gotten to be a sad tradition after fatal traffic accidents for the news media to report how many speeding or red-light citations the car owner had. In response, the city council this year upped the penalties for repeat violators to include possible impoundment of the vehicle. We’ll see how that goes.Traffic cameras aren’t perfect. In Chicago, red-light cameras incorrectly ticketed thousands of motorists from 2007 to 2014, a Chicago Tribune investigation found — although the problems seemed to stem from poor oversight more than the technology per se.(2) The rise of internet-connected digital cameras also raises legitimate concerns about whether traffic cameras are becoming tools of broader state surveillance. Still, it seems clear that, when used properly, they save lives.In 1995, the U.S. and Germany had nearly identical road fatality rates. Now the U.S. rate is nearly twice as high. If we had instead kept pace with Germany, 17,000 fewer people would die on the country’s roads each year. And it’s not like the Germans never get to drive fast; they just tend to do it only where it’s permitted.(Corrects year of speed camera study review in sixth paragraph, and adds information from more recent research.)(1) That's including the District of Columbia.(2) The Chicago Police Department also used to have a de facto torture division, one of many things that leads one to suspect the department more than the cameras.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Why Isn't California Criticized Like Florida on Covid-19?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Why aren’t critics of pandemic reopenings talking about California in the same breath as some other states? And what does that say about combating Covid-19?The pundits always single out Florida. Or Texas. Or Arizona. Or all three. Consider Paul Krugman’s column on Monday. Krugman, one of the liberal stalwarts on the New York Times’s op-ed page, believes that the reason the U.S. is “losing its war against the coronavirus” is Republican politics. He pointed to President Donald Trump’s mid-April tweets calling for states to end their lockdowns and then wrote:Republican governors in Arizona, Florida, Texas and elsewhere soon lifted stay-at-home orders and ended many restrictions on business operations. They also, following Trump’s lead, refused to require that people wear masks, and Texas and Arizona denied local governments the right to impose such requirements. They waved away warnings from health experts that premature and careless reopening could lead to a new wave of infections.Krugman is hardly alone. “Amid escalating infections, Florida, once held up by President Trump as a model for how to manage the novel coronavirus, is faring poorly,” the Washington Post wrote on Tuesday.“How Arizona ‘lost control of the epidemic,’” a Post headline read over an article that described the state as “an epicenter of the early summer coronavirus crisis.” Texas? “Here we are,” wrote Houston resident Mimi Swartz in the Times in late June, “with a jittery populace and the Texas Medical Center’s coronavirus website competing with TikTok. ICUs in Houston are at 97% capacity, with ‘unsustainable surge capacity’ predicted for hospital beds in late July.”No question about it: Things have gone badly for the three states since early June. The number of new cases being recorded by each is staggering, and they threaten to overwhelm hospitals in Houston, Miami and Phoenix. Texas and Florida both have more than 200,000 recorded cases of Covid-19, twice what they had less than three weeks ago. Arizona, a much smaller state, passed the 100,000 mark on Monday.There is also no getting around that the Republican governors — Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona — have made plenty of mistakes, which the media has pounced on. As Krugman noted, Abbott and Ducey not only refused to issue statewide mask mandates, they wouldn’t let local governments do so, either. They all began the reopening process ahead of their own state guidelines. A particularly egregious error, it’s clear now, was allowing bars to reopen, which attracted young people who wanted to party. The vast majority of new Covid-19 victims are in their 20s and 30s.But I repeat: What about California?Virtually everything you can say about Texas, Florida and Arizona can also be said about California, starting with the shape of its Covid curve, which climbs gradually until mid-June and then explodes. It took almost two months for California to record its first 100,000 positive cases; it took less than three weeks to record its most recent 100,000. As of July 7, California was second only to New York with 277,000 positive cases. Los Angeles is said to be close to running out of available hospital beds.Another similarity is that the number of people who have died of Covid-19 in California is remarkably low — just more than 6,500 in a state of almost 40 million people. In Arizona, the number of deaths just crossed 2,000. In Florida, 4,009 deaths have been recorded, and in Texas, the number is 2,813. New Jersey has recorded more deaths than all four states combined. Since the surge in the South and Southwest began in early June, a theory has developed as to why the death toll has remained relatively low, though it has begun to climb in recent days. Partly, it’s that doctors have a better understanding of how to treat Covid-19; drugs such as remdesivir are among the factors that have apparently made a difference. But it’s also because, well, let’s listen to DeSantis explain what’s going on:If you look at that 25-34 age group, that is now by far the leading age group for positive tests. … You can’t control them. … I mean they’re younger people. They’re going to do what they’re going to do.Abbott and Ducey have offered similar explanations. And so has Gavin Newsom, the governor of California. “The young invincibles,” Newsom called the Californians who have been infected in recent weeks. Indeed, several articles about Newsom’s remark included a photograph of a crowded California beach, full of people without masks — exactly the kind of photo that went viral on Twitter a few months ago when the beach in question was in Florida. As you may recall, the hashtag read floridamorons.It’s pretty obvious why California and Newsom haven’t been pummeled the way Florida, Texas and Arizona have. California is a Democratic state. Newsom is a Democratic governor. Bringing up California’s pandemic woes punctures the critics’ narrative that Republican mismanagement is the reason for the scary surge in infections. In truth, Newsom has done many of the same things that his Republican counterparts are being criticized for. He ceded the reopening process to the counties — which raced to end the lockdown before it was wise. Like the Republican governors, he declined to issue a statewide mask mandate, though he did encourage people to use them. He reopened bars, which caused the same problems in California that it caused elsewhere.In recent days, Newsom has put the brakes on the reopening in much of the state. He issued a mandatory mask order. He shut down the bars, and indoor dining. But that’s exactly what Abbott has done in Texas. All of these governors are trying to recover from mistakes.Why did DeSantis, Abbott and Ducey reopen their states so early? For the same reason Newsom did. Not to curry favor with Trump, but because they were all desperate to get businesses up and running and people back to work. Did it backfire? Yes. But it also explains why 38 states — red and blue alike — are experiencing rising numbers of positive cases, according to data compiled by the New York Times. They all opened too early. And it backfired on all of them.The real problem with the Republican governors is not their mistakes but their arrogance. Until this current surge, they bragged that their approach was the right one, proof that the Republicans had the answer even as Democratic states were struggling. No wonder their critics pounced when it turned out they weren’t right. But in their own way, the critics are just as wrong-headed. Yes, Trump and his administration have failed mightily, and they deserve every bit of criticism that is heaped on them. But party affiliation is not the reason cases are on the rise in various states. Finger-wagging is counterproductive and even beside the point. The real question is how to get Covid-19 under control and the country going again.In the face of this terrible, unseeable virus, hubris has no place, not from Republican governors or progressive pundits. There’s only one right attitude: humility.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Trump’s Attack on International Students Is Disgraceful

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- By ordering foreign college students who are unable to take in-person classes this fall to leave the U.S., the Trump administration has plumbed new depths of heartless incompetence. At best, the order will cause needless anxiety and expense for both colleges and students. At worst, it might wreck college finances, destroy jobs and facilitate the spread of the coronavirus. Inflicting such harm for some presumed political gain is disgraceful. U.S. immigration rules ban foreigners on student visas from enrolling in programs taught exclusively online. This is reasonable in normal times — in theory, virtual classes can be attended anywhere. But the coronavirus outbreak forced colleges to halt in-person instruction abruptly this spring, throwing their plans and those of their students into disarray.In March, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency rightly announced it would waive the in-person requirement and allow 1 million international students in the U.S. to remain “for the duration of the emergency.” On July 6, ICE rescinded the waiver. Student-visa holders enrolled in schools that don’t resume in-person instruction must either transfer schools or return to their home countries. International students who are currently overseas will be banned from entering.The policy is irresponsible on many levels. The vast majority of student-visa holders stayed in the U.S. during the lockdown, expecting to be able to continue their studies this fall. Under ICE’s order, they will have to start making arrangements to leave the country or face deportation, which would invalidate their visas and prevent them from returning to the U.S.Administration officials say the intent of the new rules is to pressure colleges to reopen. Yet in much of the country, the health emergency that caused schools to close is getting worse. While a handful of institutions have announced plans to reopen fully in the fall, many remain reluctant to do so, given a shortage of adequate testing and protective equipment and the high probability of students’ contracting and spreading the virus in classrooms and dormitories.The ICE order leaves colleges with an excruciating choice. They can rush to resume in-person instruction and put the lives of faculty, staff and students at risk; or enable the deportation of their foreign students, who contribute $45 billion annually to colleges and surrounding communities.Schools that adopt hybrid models combining in-person and remote instruction will have to prove that each international student is attending physical classes — a significant administrative burden when many are already under heavy financial pressure. Even if schools find ways to comply, they will face the same dilemma should new outbreaks force them to close their doors again.Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have lodged a legal challenge, and it’s to be hoped it succeeds. Regardless, the administration should reverse course immediately and allow visa holders to continue learning remotely until the pandemic subsides. Anything less is cruel to the students involved and betrays institutions that are vital to the country’s future.Editorials are written by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.