Social Distancing With Friends: Skift CEO Rafat Ali

Travel is the backbone for many business categories, including entertainment, events, hospitality and food and dining.

But that backbone is broken right now, and may never fully recover.

Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of the travel industry publishing company Skift, has his finger on the pulse of the travel industry. It was three years after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 before the number of plane travelers reached its previous peak, he said.

And the coronavirus crisis is far worse – Rafat said he expects five years to pass before travel reaches anything like 2019 levels – and it has more severe knock-on effects across the economy, like the loss of travel for manufacturing supply chains or normal business.

AdExchanger caught up with Rafat about how Skift, a B2B media and events company, is dealing with the pandemic. And whether travel and tourism will ever be the same, even on the other side of this crisis.

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