INTERNATIONAL TOURISM AND ECONOMIC GROWTH - September 7, 2018 - Roundtable Weekly

Hospitality CEOs Meet With President Trump to Advocate Reauthorization of Brand USA Program; Visa Application Process Improvements  

The vital contributions to the U.S. economy and job creation by the travel and tourism industry were the focus of a meeting Tuesday between President Trump and CEOs of 13 hospitality companies, including four members of The Real Estate Roundtable. 

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Among the hotel CEOs participating in the White House meeting on travel and tourism this week were former Real Estate Roundtable Chairman Chris Nassetta of Hilton, along with Roundtable members Elie Maalouf of InterContinental Hotels Group; Patrick Pacious of Choice Hotels International; and James Risoleo of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc

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  • The White House meeting focused on ways the Trump Administration and private industry can work together to achieve travel-related economic growth.  Among the policies discussed to help improve inbound travel: expanding and enhancing secure visa policies; supporting the Brand USA destination marketing agency; the importance of international inbound travel to reduce the growing trade deficit; and transportation infrastructure — all critical to increasing both international and domestic travel. 

  • Among the hotel CEOs participating in the meeting were former Real Estate Roundtable Chairman Chris Nassetta of Hilton, along with Roundtable members Elie Maalouf of InterContinental Hotels Group; Patrick Pacious of Choice Hotels International; and James Risoleo of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc

  • The Visit U.S. coalition, which includes The Roundtable, is urging Congress to reauthorize Brand USA — the nation's tourism marketing program, which is not supported by taxpayer dollars, but through fees on foreign visitors who do not require a visa when entering the U.S.  Legislation is needed to authorize the program beyond 2020 and ensure that visitor fees authorized for collection from 2021 to 2027 will not be diverted to the Treasury Department, as currently scheduled. 

  • An FY2017 return on investment analysis showed each dollar of Brand USA marketing generated almost 28 dollars in visitor spending.  Moreover, Brand USA-generated international visitor spending is estimated to have produced 486 million dollars in federal tax revenue, and another 526 million dollars in state and local tax revenue.

  • Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said, "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." 

A panel discussion at The Roundtable's June 14 Annual Meeting focused on the travel and tourism issue.  Participants included Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Roundtable Board Member Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust; USTA's Roger Dow; and American Hotel & Lodging Association's President and CEO Katherine Lugar.  (Roundtable Weekly, June 15, 2018.)

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