In December, Peter Wells launched his new app geared at helping discerning travelers find experiences that fit their travel style. But when COVID-19 took a tremendous toll on the travel industry, shutting down borders and putting vacation plans on hold, he had to pivot.
Now, Wells, the founder and CEO of the DragonSlayer web app, is relaunching — only this time, he’s focused on helping travelers figure out where they can go, what COVID-19-related restrictions they will face, and finding the best destination for them based on a personalized assessment.
“What I'm hoping overall… is in a small way we're contributing to getting travel back on its feet,” Wells told Travel + Leisure. “It is so much a part of our fabric as Americans.”
The app issues what Wells calls a SAFE-T score (or Smart Analytics for Educating Travelers) for 124 different countries and all 50 U.S. states by taking into account things like COVID-19-related deaths, testing capacity, new case trends, and how good the country or state’s healthcare system is. That score can change based on the user’s individual risk tolerance, which Wells said is determined by a series of questions.
“The idea here is to provide information to travelers so they can start feeling more comfortable,” he explained, adding the scores are calculated on a relative basis, comparing countries or states against others.
And the information is updated daily. There are currently only a small number of countries where Americans can travel for tourism purposes, but DragonSlayer is on top of it. The app allows users to filter their travel options based on which nations are open to those from the U.S. without a mandatory quarantine as well as see potential testing requirements.
“People are going to have to realize the protocols for travel are going to be different,” Wells said. “We're trying to make people aware that 'yes' you can travel, but it's going to be on different terms.”
Ultimately, Wells said DragonSlayer’s redesign was all to answer a fundamental question: “What would it take for me to get back on a plane and travel somewhere?"
“And the answer was ‘I don't even know where I could travel or under what conditions I could go travel,’” he said. “And that's been this big question mark hanging over the industry.”
To access the app, users pay either $9.99 per month with a free two-week trial or $69.99 for a year’s subscription.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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