People, Travel

Marriott Boss Slams Trump’s Damaging Policies

Marriott Boss Slams Trump’s Damaging PoliciesMarriott Boss Slams Trump’s Damaging Policies

The chief executive of Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel operator, warns that US President Donald Trump’s immigration policies are damaging the country’s tourism industry because foreign travelers are avoiding America.

Arne Sorenson added that there were signs that “companies and conferences were also choosing to host events in other countries due to the uncertainty over restrictions on entry” to the US, Newsmax reported, quoting Sorenson’s interview with the Financial Times.

Trump’s quest to impose a travel ban on visitors from some countries harmed America’s reputation as a “friendly” destination.

The travel ban blocks entry to the US for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries–Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya–for a period of 90 days.

“The [new US administration’s] actions around travel are not helpful,” Sorenson said. “There’s no doubt about that. There’s no way to anticipate that they will be good news.”

This decline by travelers from those areas is especially painful and harmful to the US economy because they spend much more than domestic guests.

Bookings at Marriott, the world’s largest hotel operator, from those regions alone in February fell to 30%, Sorenson said at an investor day in March.

“We are clearly monitoring this carefully,” said Marriott Spokeswoman Connie Kim.

The Marriott properties most affected by the order are the swanky St. Regis and the Ritz-Carlton, where suites start at $800-plus a night, according to industry sources.

Travelers from the affected regions account for less than 1% of Marriott’s bookings, Kim said. But they are among the biggest spenders, say industry experts.

“The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that during the three months ended in February, spending by foreigners on travel in the US amounted to almost $44 billion, down an annualized, inflation-adjusted 10.2% from the three months ended in October, before Trump won the election,” said Bloomberg View’s Mark Whitehouse.

“The decline, although small compared with what happened after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was the largest drop during a comparable period since the global recession of 2008 and 2009.”


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