HB ON THE SCENE: AAHOA Charts Progress of Advocacy at Annual Conference
Wednesday March 27th, 2013 - 6:09PM V
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HOUSTON—The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) kicked off its 2013 annual conference here with an update to members on the group’s progress during the course of the past year from outgoing Chairman Alkesh Patel as well an economic analysis from keynote speaker Steve Forbes.
Patel praised the association’s progress on Capitol Hill and the formation of a PAC (Political Action Committee). “Nowhere is our progress more dramatic than advocacy. During my chairmanship we raised $250,000 toward our goal of having a committee,” he said, adding, “if we wish to do more in the political arena we must raise more. The only limit on AAHOA’s voice is the depth of your pockets.”
He also noted the association, which now counts more than 11,000 members, expects to establish a permanent office in Washington, DC, within the next few months. Patel noted such a move “will allow us to build closer relationships with legislators.”
Patel also touted the group’s new governance model that has been put in place. The new model includes standardized dates for regional meetings and the annual convention as well as ensuring that individuals elected to board positions going forward are more educated and informed. “AHHOA will benefit for years to come,” he said of the model.
Meanwhile, Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief, Forbes Media, offered his take on the U.S. economy and what plagues it. “The reason we’re in a sluggish economy is because of policy errors,” he said.
Forbes referenced the Cyprus bank situation in Europe and noted as a result “nobody trusts what governments tell them anymore.” As it pertains to the U.S., Forbes noted that increased investments in hard metals like gold and silver are clear indicators that consumers are concerned about the integrity of the economy and the intrusion of government. He did add there has been increasing discussion about linking the dollar to gold as it was in the 1970s, suggesting it “would provide stability.”
He further added, “in the next three or four years, central bankers will learn that undermining the currency is not the way to wealth."
Forbes also commented on health care, insisting that “as Obamacare kicks in there are huge costs coming on.” He noted the plan is expected to cost the country some $17.5 trillion a year.
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For the past few years, the talk of The Lodging Conference in Phoenix had been focused on the economic recovery, solid industry projections and “cautious optimism.” With the word cautious no longer necessary, the economic outlook took a backseat this year to the seemingly unending parade of new lifestyle brands.