The travel industry must take on the challenge of improving the U.S.'s aging infrastructure and seize the opportunities presented by a boom in global travel, Jonathan M. Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels, said. "Let's help find the solutions to an infrastructure problem that is too big and too complex for either government or industry to solve on their own," said Tisch.
Tisch made his remarks at the 34th Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. He argued that the industry should not wait for Washington to act and will see real results only if it acts with unity and purpose. Tisch noted that over 1 billion people will travel abroad this year, including a growing number of travelers from China and emerging economic powers like Brazil: "We're on the verge of the greatest boom market in our industry's history. The critical question is: Will the U.S. be able to compete effectively for these travelers?"
According to Tisch, the problem most affecting the outcome is the state of U.S. infrastructure, exhibited by congested runways and aging airport terminals and facilities. Tisch urged private sector investors to partner with government to address the infrastructure challenge, citing promising success stories in Chicago, California and New York.
"Many leaders in our industry have a strong entrepreneurial bent and deep experience leveraging private financing to complete complex projects. Let's make a commitment to apply some of that creative energy to a challenge that is critical to our industry's and our country's future."
Tisch also noted the travel industry's major successes in the past year, arguing such victories not only showcase the industry's importance to the U.S. economy, but also display what can be accomplished when all industry sectors work together.
Pointing to Brand USA, the first overseas marketing campaign designed to attract international travelers to the U.S., and the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, unveiled by the Obama Administration last month, Tisch declared: "The message I take away from these achievements is that when we unite behind a common purpose, there's nothing we can't achieve."