by Loren G. Edelstein | June 05, 2017
In welcoming attendees to the 29th annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, which runs through Wednesday at the New York Marriott Marquis, Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, quoted Colin Powell: "We need to have both secure borders and open doors." 
The hospitality finance-and-development forum brings together global hotel CEOs, owners, developers, investors, lenders, analysts and other hospitality innovators to discuss current issues and the future of the industry.
Also in his opening keynote, Tisch called on the travel and hospitality industry to unite to support pro-travel policies and protect against a second "lost decade" for global travel to the U.S. "We need to remember that words matter," he said. "Perceptions matter. We need to assure travelers around the world that we welcome them and we welcome their business. Nobody can deny the tremendous uncertainty that people feel about traveling to the U.S. right now."
Calling Times Square, where the event is taking place, the crossroads of the world, Tisch asked how the hospitality industry can protect its hard-won gains and push for even greater progress, concluding that, "We must take responsibility to tout travel's importance to new political leadership." He pointed out that one in nine Americans make their living on some aspect of the travel industry, just one of the many ways travel drives the U.S. economy. Tisch also mentioned threats to destination marketing organizations' budgets, as evidenced by the siege Visit Florida has been under from the state's legislature. "When destination marketing budgets are cut, the explanation is always some version of 'Our region sells itself, so why should we invest?,'" he noted, adding that statistics prove otherwise.
Many other top travel executives will be speaking at this year's NYU conference; events include a panel today featuring Thomas J. Baltimore, Jr., chairman and CEO, Park Hotels & Resorts; Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of AccorHotels; Mark S. Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corp.; and Dara Khosrowshahi, president and chief executive officer of Expedia. 
The Leaders' Forum takes place tomorrow with Eric Danziger, CEO, Trump Hotels; David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western Hotels & Resorts; James J. Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts; James Riley, group chief executive, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group; and J. Allen Smith, president and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.