Travel industry turns to laid off workers


NEW YORK – US travel companies are hopping on a marketing bandwagon, offering deals to laid off workers to keep a decidedly anxious group of customers traveling.

Some are borrowing the idea direct from Hyundai Motors, which was among the first to announce a program to help customers who had lost their jobs. Since then, ski resorts have offered laid off workers discounts and hotels have offered free rooms, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.

JetBlue Airways is offering a refund for travelers who have been recently laid off, the Tribune said.

For some, being laid off may present an opportunity to get away for a break.

“Lots of people get laid off with severance packages, so they have money,” said Will Candis, a spokesman for Costa Rican luxury resort Recreo Costa Rica.

“It may seem self-indulgent, but vacations are very rejuvenating,” he said.

President and Chief Executive Officer Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association said, “everyone wins.”

“Is it the magic bullet that will turn things around for the industry? Maybe not,” he said. “But, it’s a very nice step.”