by Michael J. Shapiro | June 03, 2013

Speaking at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference this morning in New York City, Loews Hotels chairman Jonathan M. Tisch called for reforms to the U.S. customs and visa processes. "Given travel's increasingly prominent role in promoting growth and job creation," he said, "our industry needs public policies that reflect travel's value to the economy." Tisch specifically cited the need for improvements to the customs process, travel infrastructure upgrades and the legislation of recent successful changes in visa processing. He suggested hiring 1,000 additional customs and Border Protection officials at gateway airports to speed up the arrivals process, and noted that provisions in the Senate immigration bill, which he supports, would codify the current visa improvements into law. The U.S. must compete more effectively for international travelers, he said, adding, "We need to capture their attention in their home countries, spur their interest in visiting the United States, make it easy for them to get here and, once they arrive, provide a welcoming, enjoyable experience."