Rick Steves, TV host, author and the owner of Rick Steves' Europe tour group, has been paying the salaries of the nearly 100 people on his payroll out of his own pocket as travel around the world continues to be shut down because of COVID-19.
Steves told Jim Braude on WGBH News' Greater Boston Wednesday that is was the “the ethical thing to do.”
“I want to have my company together when we come out of this crisis, and If it costs me a lot of money in the interim, that’s part of business," he said. "I take the good years with the bad, and I’m hoping in a year or two, or maybe a little more, that international travel will be back to the norm, and we’ll have our staff together; and then we can throttle up and pick up where we left off with helping Americans travel smartly in Europe.”
Steves said that before the virus hit, his company was having an incredible year, with booked tours lined up throughout Europe. That all changed very quickly.
“Then all of a sudden everything shutdown, and I had to give 24,000 people their deposits back as we canceled tours over the course of the year,” Steves said.
Steves is hopeful that interest and the ability to travel will pick up in the future, but does not have plans to rush and start tours again as soon places begin to reopen
“I’m not going to jump the gun … I think it’s going to be slow,” he said. “I just hope and pray that in the long term it is back to normal.”