At First White House Meeting, Industry Execs Talk Travel

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Travel Association, joined by CEOs of 13 member companies, met Tuesday at the White House with President Trump and senior administration officials. The president and industry leaders discussed travel’s essential contributions to the U.S. economy and job creation, and the importance of international inbound travel to trade deficit reduction.

“Our discussion with the president was simple: A strong flow of international business and leisure travelers into the U.S. reduces the trade deficit and creates an outsize number of American jobs,” said Roger Dow, president/CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “There is a global international travel boom, and there is a huge opportunity to greatly expand upon the already strong economy.”

Among those in attendance:

  • Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association
  • Geoff Ballotti, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Kevin Frid, AccorHotels
  • Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
  • Elie Maalouf, InterContinental Hotels Group
  • George Markantonis, Las Vegas Sands Corporation
  • Chris Nassetta, Hilton
  • Patrick Pacious, Choice Hotels International
  • Joe Popolo, Freeman
  • James Risoleo, Host Hotels & Resorts Inc.
  • Arne Sorenson, Marriott International
  • John Sprouls, Universal Parks & Resorts
  • Greg Stubblefield, Enterprise Holdings Inc.
  • Phil Brown, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (attending in his role as chair of U.S. Travel’s Gateway Airports Council)

Also joining Dow and member executives at the meeting were EVP for Public Affairs Jonathan Grella and SVP for Government Relations Tori Barnes.

“The president is a keen listener whenever you’re talking about growing the economy, and he was receptive to the idea that travel growth can be achieved without compromising security. We’re grateful to the president and his senior aides for their time and attention,” said Dow.

The conversation highlighted ways the administration and the travel industry can work together to achieve travel-related growth. Among the policies discussed to help improve inbound travel were expanding and enhancing secure visa policies and supporting the Brand USA destination marketing agency. Transportation infrastructure—critical to growth of both international and domestic travel—was also on the policy menu.

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