Loews boss calls for action on US travel and tourism

Loews Hotels & Co chairman and CEO Jonathan Tisch has called for action to reverse a decline in America’s share of the global travel and tourism market.

Speaking at the 40th annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, Tisch called on hospitality industry leaders to address critical issues including growing security concerns, global competition, outdated American infrastructure, and destination overcrowding.

Global travel and tourism is an $8 trillion market, Tisch said, and it is expected to grow an additional 44 per cent over the next decade. But given the 13 per cent decline in the US's share of the global travel market in recent years, Tisch stressed the importance of travel promotion programs like Brand USA and reiterated the need for support from Congress and the business community.

"The threat to Brand USA is a good reminder that even smart and effective programs need diligent advocates. When it comes to defending travel, our industry must remain vigilant," he said.

Tisch also called attention to the Trump administration's recent extreme vetting proposal, which would apply to more than 14 million visa applicants. He underscored the success of trusted traveller programs like TSA Precheck and the Visa Waiver Program and urged policymakers to not forget important lessons learned from them. "As an industry, we need to push for smart policies that are secure, efficient and effective. If people do not feel safe, they will not travel."

Tisch also noted the continued need for greater investment in America's infrastructure and underscored the travel industry's eagerness to work with the Trump administration to spearhead this effort. "As an industry, we're ready to work with the President and Congress to build the infrastructure America needs," he said.
According to Tisch, the global travel boom has arrived and along with it, some unintended consequences. Destinations around the world are struggling to manage the impact of fast-growing tourism on their communities. "By 2030, an additional 600 million people will be traveling around the globe," Tisch said. "As an industry, we have a responsibility to help preserve the destinations where we operate, to be good partners with local communities, and to leave them better than we found them."

Despite the challenges ahead, Tisch remained optimistic about the future of the travel industry and the American economy as a whole. "As an industry, we are uniquely positioned to help solve these challenges while growing the U.S. share of the global travel market," Tisch said. "The future is ours to win - but we must compete, we must invest, we must innovate."

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