Industry Reacts as Biden Enters Office

WASHINGTON—After Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, industry associations offered their thoughts on what this would mean for hospitality.

“America’s hoteliers congratulate President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on this historic day for our nation,” said Cecil P. Staton, president/CEO, AAHOA. “We look forward to the vision and leadership offered by the Biden administration as our nation works to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and get our economy back on track.”

He told Hotel Business that AAHOA will work with this new administration to help its members. “Having a new administration presents our industry with a fresh opportunity to highlight specific policy proposals that directly address the liquidity crisis facing hoteliers and ensure a speedy recovery,” he said. “I am optimistic that the initial plans to assist small businesses, and especially minority-owned businesses, will help AAHOA’s members and look forward to more specifics in the coming weeks. The expanded vaccine distribution and testing plans outlined by President Biden will go a long way in helping to increase consumer confidence and making it safer to travel again. Their focus on a national strategy to combat COVID-19 is welcome news to the travel and tourism industry and hotel owners.”

Chip Rogers, president/CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association, (AHLA), congratulated both Biden and Harris and called for more help for the industry. “On behalf of the hotel industry, we congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris on their inauguration. Today’s peaceful transfer of power marks a new chapter as our country moves forward together. Over the last year, our nation, and the world, has faced incredible difficulties, but we are resilient, and working together we can overcome these historic challenges.”

He added, “As an industry, we continue to face historically low occupancy rates, massive job loss and record hotel closures. Our industry needs help to retain and rehire our associates, revive our local communities and restart our economy. While the vaccine rollout has begun, it will likely take months to widely distribute, and travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2023. We urge Congress and the new administration to come together on a longer-term stimulus package that will ensure our industry survives so that the men and women who are the backbone and heart of hospitality can get back to work and unleash the power of the American dream.”

While offering his congratulations to the new leaders, Roger Dow, president/CEO, U.S. Travel Association, said he is encouraged by the plans the administration has to help travel and tourism. “President Biden is acutely aware of the economic pain the pandemic has inflicted on our industry and its workforce, and we are encouraged by the administration’s focus on providing additional, direct relief to businesses in the hardest-hit industries,” he said. “Travel supported one in 10 jobs prior to the pandemic, powering the economy and providing jobs in urban and rural communities alike. It is well within reach to return America to the record growth the travel industry experienced prior to the pandemic through national strategies that will revive the American economy, shorten the recovery and help unite a divided nation as travel is uniquely equipped to do.”

He continued, “And given President Biden’s well-known affinity for Amtrak, we share a common priority to connect our cities with improved national and regional mobility across all modes of travel infrastructure—passenger rail as well as airports, highways and public transit—to facilitate greater travel and tourism. Vice President Harris has represented one of the largest state tourism economies in the country and has seen firsthand travel’s positive impact on local communities. We also acknowledge the deep significance of Vice President Harris being not only the first woman, but the first Black and Indian-American woman, to serve in this high role—a fitting reflection of America’s diverse populace.”

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