The U.S. Travel Association, joined by CEOs of 13 member companies, met Sept. 4 at the White House with President Donald J. Trump and senior officials of the Trump Administration. 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 and 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.
“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.”
According to a US Travel statement issued following the meeting, 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: expanding and enhancing secure visa policies and supporting the Brand USA as the nation’s destination marketing agency. Transportation infrastructure—critical to growth of both international and domestic travel—was also on the policy menu.
Attending the West Wing meeting were the following:
Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association;
Geoff Ballotti of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts;
Phil Brown of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (attending in his role as chair of U.S. Travel’s Gateway Airports Council);
Kevin Frid of AccorHotels;
Mark Hoplamazian of Hyatt Hotels Corporation;
Elie Maalouf of InterContinental Hotels Group;
George Markantonis of Las Vegas Sands Corporation;
Chris Nassetta of Hilton;
Patrick Pacious of Choice Hotels International;
Joe Popolo of Freeman;
James Risoleo of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc.;
Arne Sorenson of Marriott International;
John Sprouls of Universal Parks & Resorts; and
Greg Stubblefield of Enterprise Holdings, Inc.
Also joining Dow and member executives at the meeting were Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Jonathan Grella and Senior Vice President for Government Relations Tori Barnes.
The White House session is in keeping with US Travel’s efforts to meet personally with the sitting U.S. President. US Travel President Roger Dow headed similar industry delegations to two meetings with President Barack Obama—one in March 2009, less than two months after Obama took office, and a second West Wing meeting in May 2014.
Question: Did Roger Dow use the occasion of the meeting make a pitch to President Trump to upgrade his membership in the association? Trump Hotels is a US Travel member.