Earlier this week Jonathan Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels, commented that the nation’s aging infrastructure will be the next hurdle the travel and hospitality industries will need to overcome. Tisch was speaking at New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, where he asked fellow hotel industry leaders to band together and create momentum for public-private partnerships that would invest in the nation’s infrastructure. This technique worked for the industry when they pushed for the Travel Promotion Act.
Tisch said, “Just as we did with travel promotion, we need to have elected officials understand how vitally important travel and tourism is in terms of job creation and economic development. Through increased conversation, we can point out to officials that our country’s roads and airline system need to be upgraded to ensure that travelers can get where they’re going in safety and comfort.”
Tisch pointed out that travelers are frustrated. Regardless of how nice any hotel is, if it is a hassle for them to get there, they are not going to go. He continued by saying, there need to be improvements to airports, rail, highways and the air traffic control system to entice travelers.
Tourism plays a vital role in the US economy. In 2010, $758.7 billion was spent by domestic and international travelers in the United States, according to the United States Travel Association. To increase tourism and profits from tourism, it is necessary to improve the nation’s infrastructure. The public-private partnerships Mr. Tisch spoke about fits in with one of the key solutions outlined in ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure: increase and improve infrastructure investment from all stakeholders. The tourism and hospitality industries are an important part of the nation’s economy and we applaud their support for improving the nation’s infrastructure. It’s time for the other key stakeholders to begin advocating for solutions to the nation’s infrastructure investment deficit.
For more information on the economic impact tourism and travel have, check out Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism.