Skift Take

Despite decades of economic progress, it is forecast that more people will fall back into poverty post-pandemic than come out. Globally, children remain incredibly challenged to find proper education and socialization. And people are dying. It’s clear to me that the public sector cannot do this alone and it is time for the private sector to step up.

For our Viewpoint series, Skift invites thought leaders, some from the less obvious corners of travel, to join in the conversation. We know that these independent voices are important to the dialogue within the industry. Our guest columnists will identify and shape what global trends and through lines will define the future of travel.


I am writing to you regarding a pressing issue. While we all have spent countless hours debating mask and vaccine mandates and back-to-work plans, there is an urgent need beyond borders. Despite the best efforts and commitments of governments in the developed world, the less fortunate parts of the world continue to suffer from a dire human tragedy. While in the developed parts of the western world we are finally getting to a majority of people being fully vaccinated, in the developing world barely 1 percent of the population has been protected. These people, our fellow global citizens, are in desperate need of our help.

Please join us to hear Expedia CEO Peter Kern speak at Skift Global Forum in NYC September 21-23

Peter Kern CEO Expedia Group Source Expedia Group

Peter Kern CEO Expedia Group Source Expedia Group

As of right now, billions worldwide will be left unvaccinated for years to come, presenting not only an immense global health and humanitarian crisis, but a financial one as well. Despite decades of economic progress, it is forecast that more people will fall back into poverty post-pandemic than come out. Globally, children remain incredibly challenged to find proper education and socialization. And people are dying.

It’s clear to me that the public sector cannot do this alone and it is time for the private sector to step up. For our part, despite immense challenges in travel, we found a way to support vaccinating the world with our Give the World a Shot program. Over the last month, every time someone booked on one of our brands’ apps, Expedia Group donated to UNICEF’s global effort to vaccinate those in need. We quickly met our goal of giving $10 million but this is a drop in the ocean. A precious few other companies have helped in the cause, but we all need to help if we are to make a real impact.

Read Skift’s Coverage of Vaccine Equity Here.

This is why I am reaching out to you directly. Whether you have been negatively impacted by the pandemic like us, or even more so if your business benefitted from the pandemic, the responsibility to act against Covid-19 is acute.

This is an act of generosity not only for those whose lives we will help but ultimately benefits our own self-interest. We can protect our own people, rejuvenate the global economy, and put the world back on its feet. And who knows, maybe we will build new muscle for coming together to solve the big global challenges of our time.

There are many organizations worldwide in need of help doing this critical work to distribute Covid-19 vaccines. We are working with UNICEF, but I invite you to do what you can with any outlet you see fit. They need money, logistical support, volunteers, and more. Do what you can. Do anything you can. We remain obliged to help, and I urge you to do your part.

Thank you for your consideration.

Peter Kern, Vice Chairman and CEO, Expedia Group

This letter was first sent to Kern’s fellow CEOs and reposted on LinkedIn.

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Tags: coronavirus, expedia, vaccine equity, viewpoint

Photo Credit: African child receiving vaccine. Riccardo Lennart Niels Mayer / Getty Images