That Matt Lauer guy has got travel wrong


Matt Lauer from the US television morning show, The Today Show, does an annual segment called “Where in the World?” in which he traipses to exotic destinations to pique his viewers’ interest. Well, apparently this year, he is “staying home” in an effort to avoid sending the “wrong” message.

By “staying home,” he means he will not be traveling outside of the United States, and by “wrong” message, he means that it might be inappropriate to travel given that so many have lost their jobs.

Having just returned from the largest travel trade show on earth (called ITB Berlin), I can’t even begin to fathom what Lauer is thinking. For one, it is hard to imagine that anyone who works in the news industry would have such a narrow-minded vision. Yes, there is a recession, and yes, unemployment is skyrocketing. But all of this is true on a global level, hence the current phenomenon called the “global economic crisis.” It is self indulgent to think that the current situation is only affecting the United States.

So, why should Lauer discourage traveling abroad? If he is one who thinks outside the box, he will know that this is probably the most opportune time to travel for so many reasons. One, for those who can afford to travel, this is probably the best time to take advantage of travel bargains that wouldn’t be offered otherwise in a regular economy. Second, the world looks up to the United States to be the trailblazers of trends. Instead of “staying home,” US travelers should ready their passports and spur travel now more than ever. It would certainly help alleviate some of the perception problems about “America” elicited by a collective abhorrence by the world from the previous US administration.

“How is Lake Como?” I asked a colleague at ITB Berlin, and she responded, “It’s empty. Everywhere is empty.”

Well, there you have it, Matt Lauer – hotel rooms in destinations around the world are empty. Shouldn’t you know this being that you anchor one of the most-watched morning shows in the US?

The point here is not to be extravagant, but rather spur travel for those who can still afford it. The US needs it, so does the rest of the world.